Stove Works / 1250 E 13th St. June 7, 2023 - November 11, 2023

Ana Garcia Jácome, Chalet Comellas, Cristina Molina, Ebony Bailey, Giselle Mira-Diaz, Haylie Jimenez, Jesús Hilario-Reyes, Jorge Bordello, Lorena Barrera Enciso, Lorena Cruz Santiago, María Sosa, Noé Martínez, Oli Rodriguez, Edra Soto, Sadie Woods

The title for this exhibit stems from a common protest slogan in Spanish, “Quisieron enterrarnos sin saber que eramos semilla / They tried to bury us without knowing we were seeds”. This exhibition broadly explores the theme of “environments” and “the environment” to grapple with the concerns of Latinx, Latin American, and Caribbean peoples of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, and their distinct national identities, languages, and histories. Éramos Semilla explores the legacies of environmental racism, how local and historic racial climates create anti-blackness in Latinx communities, how coloniality compounds natural disasters, and how inhospitable environments for people with disabilities are actively being challenged. The works explored here engage questions of memory and the home as sites of resistance through indigenous practices, affirmations of queerness, femininity, and ancient language practices, alongside contemporary inquiries into moving image, the body, and voice as forms of decolonial praxis. The artists here embody truths. For them, decoloniality is not a metaphor, a theory, or an idea but a constant and uphill battle, a lifelong goal, an attainable and sustainable movement, a process, a way of life, and radical action.

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Jose Luis Benavides (Chicago, US, 1986) is a Latinx and queer photographer, moving image maker, and lecturer at Wilbur Wright College, City Colleges of Chicago. Working primarily with a range of personal archives, his work explores issues relating to gender, sexuality, culture, and migration. His experimental documentary film, Lulu en el Jardín, tells the story of his lesbian mother’s coming out in Chicago during the 1970s. His work has screened at Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, US (2020), and other festivals around the world. As an experimental artist, documentarian, and video art programmer he opens conversations, space and time for diverse perspectives from feminist, queer and Latinx perspectives for the virtual archive SinCintaPrevia.com.

Jose Luis Benavides (Chicago, 1986) es un fotógrafo latinx queer, así como creador de imágenes en movimiento y catedrático en Wilbur Wright College, City Colleges of Chicago. Trabajando ante todo con una variedad de su archivo personal, su trabajo explorar asuntos relacionados con el género, la sexualidad, la cultura y la migración. Su documental experimental, Lulu en el Jardín, cuenta la historia de su madre lesbiana saliendo adelante en Chicago durante la década de 1970. Su trabajo ha sido proyectado en el Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, US (2020), y otros festivales alrededor del mundo. Como artista experimental, documentalista y programador de videoarte abre conversaciones, espacio y tiempo para diversas miradas desde perspectivas feministas, queer y latinx para el archivo virtual SinCintaPrevia.com.