Visiting Artists

What is an Artistic Practice of Human Rights? was a multi-day summit on April 29 and May 1, 2017. It was co-presented by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, and the Logan Center for the Arts, and composed of a group of distinguished international artists who proposed, examined, and challenged the ways in which creative cultural resistance can broaden our collective understanding of human rights. 

The following participating artists were also named as Pozen Visiting Professors: 

Lola Arias is a writer, theatre director, and performer, often working collaboratively with artists from other disciplines such as literature, music, film and visual art. Playing with overlapping zones between reality and fiction, recent productions have included non-professional performers from local populations, such as The art of making money (2013), which was performed by beggars, sex workers, and street musicians from the city of Bremen, and The art of arriving (2015), which used Bulgarian children living in Germany to develop a scenic tutorial reflecting upon how one starts a new life in another country. Arias has also published books of poetry, fiction, and plays. Her works for theatre have been performed at festivals including Lift Festival, Festival d’Avignon, Theater Spektakel, Zurich, Wiener Festwochen, Festival Theaterformen, Spielart Festival, Munich, Alkantara Festival, Lisbon, Under the Radar, NY, and in venues such as Theatre de la Ville, Red Cat LA, Walker Art Centre, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Royal Court London. More on Lola Arias’s work here.

Jelili Atiku is a Nigerian multimedia artist with political concerns for human rights and justice who works through drawing, installation sculpture, photography, video and live art performance. Since 2008, he has been involved in an ongoing performance project, In the Red, which uses red as a symbol of life, suffering, danger, and violence. More recently he has focused on enacting social intervention and politically motivated live art performances, where self-invented costumes and audience are integrated as symbolic content. He was arrested and detained in January 2016 by the Nigerian state during a performance of his work Aragamago Will Rid This Land of Terrorism, an intervention that is part of his public campaign against domestic terrorism. He has performed his work in public spaces and festivals in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Togo, Benin, Cameroun, Uganda and Sweden, and at museums including Tate Modern and the Broad. Born in 1968 in Ejigbo (Lagos), Nigeria, he was trained at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and University of Lagos, Nigeria. Atiku’s work is profiled here.

Tania Bruguera, born in 1968 in Havana, Cuba, is a politically-motivated performance artist and Guggenheim fellow who explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. She expands the definition and range of performance art, sometimes performing solo but more often staging participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control. Her 100-hour performance—an open-studio reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)—in Havana in May 2015 was interrupted by Cuban authorities, who detained her for eight months. Major exhibitions of Bruguera’s work have appeared at the Museum of Modern Art, Havana Biennial, Venice Biennale, Tate Modern and Documenta. Bruguera discusses ‘Surplus Value,’ a part of her ongoing Immigrant Movement International project, here

Based in Palestine, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti have spent the last ten years developing their theoretically ambitious, practically engaged artistic practice focused on the struggle for justice and equality. In 2007, along with Eyal Weizman, they co-founded Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) in Beit Sahour, Palestine with the aim of combining an architectural studio with an art residency in order to bring together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, film-makers, and curators to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architectureCampus in Camps, an experimental educational program founded in 2012 at Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, has offshoots in other Palestinian camps, as well as an interconnected consortium of universities around the world. Hilal and Petti co-authored, along with Eyal Weizman, the book Architecture after Revolution (Sternberg, Berlin 2014) as an invitation to rethink today’s struggles for justice and equality not only from the histor­ical perspective of revolution, but also from that of a continued struggle for decolonization. Their practice has been the recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College, the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University, the Price Claus Prize for Architecture, Curry Stone Design Prize, the New School’s Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award, the Chrnikov Prize, and a Foundation for Art Initiatives grant.

Carlos Javier Ortiz is a director, cinematographer, and documentary photographer who focuses on urban life, gun violence, racism, poverty, and marginalized communities. In 2016, Carlos received a Guggenheim Fellowship for film/video. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts; the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Library of Congress. His photographs have also been published in The New Yorker and Mother Jones among many others, including The Atlantic, which used his photographs to illustrate “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2014), the cover story for the best-selling issue in the history of the magazine. His 2014 film, We All We Got, uses images and sounds to convey a community’s deep sense of loss and resilience in the face of gun violence. We All We Got has been screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, CURRENTS Santa Fe International New Media Festival, and the Athens International Film + Video Festival. More on the work of Carlos Javier Ortiz here.

Laurie Jo Reynolds is an artist and policy advocate whose work addresses the harms of the U.S. prison system, particularly challenging the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of people in the criminal legal system. As a 2010 Soros Fellow, Reynolds researched and advocated for best practices to stop sexual abuse and reduce crime recidivism. For the past decade, she focused on the Tamms Correctional Center, a supermax prison in southern Illinois. Her upcoming projects include Prison Aesthetics and Policy, an interdisciplinary effort to research the aesthetic and sensory experiences of prisoners and staff, and the Honey Bun Comedy Hour, an original web series depicting the horror, boredom, and small mercies of prison life. Reynolds is a 2014 Blade of Grass Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute Fellow, and the 2013 recipient of Creative Time Foundation’s Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. She lives and works in Chicago, teaching at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Reynolds presents her work on the Honey Bun Comedy Hour here.