Photograph courtesy of UIS VISUAL ARTS GALLERY

The current exhibition being held in the Health & Sciences Building (HSB), “To Unmake a Fold”, leaves a strong message with onlookers about sociocultural and political divides among people. Featuring pieces by Cass Davis, Kwabena Foli, Kelly Kristin Jones and Mark Blanchard, this exhibition is one of two currently being displayed in the state. Both are curated by UIS Visual Arts Gallery Director Jeff Robinson and overseen by UIS Visual Arts Gallery Manager Allison Lacher. The second work is situated at the Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, Illinois. Both locations were chosen carefully to reflect tensions and violence in the past, with each exhibit only telling half of the story.

To Unmake a Fold compares the physically traumatic tectonic activities that shape geological formations – such as earthquakes and ridge formations – to the psychologically traumatic sociocultural and political phenomena that create systemic schisms between groups of people. In both cases, the borders serve as a warzone of sorts. A profound aspect of the exhibit, however, is that it acknowledges how these traumas allow for reformation and development in the years to come. Barriers between people may present “opportunities for collective renewal and redemption.”

In one corner stand framed collages of faces representing a wide variety of demographics, from the eye of an elderly caucasian woman to the lips of an African-American woman. An interactive video game with Pokemon-esque graphics, featuring a TV screen and partially-covered keyboard, is open to be explored by visitors. Two edited, colored photographs hang on nearby walls with an upside-down bucket in front of each image. A large jacquard textile with a giant rip through the center can be seen in the center of the room.

Through these pieces, the artists shed light on the aspects of humanity that allow inequality to continue existing. This is done in hopes that all sociocultural and political wounds can be healed so that humanity can move forward into a brighter future.

The exhibition will be open from January 13 until February 20. An Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series lecture on the exhibit will occur on February 10 at 6 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. All artists will be present to elaborate on the significance of their works and their implications in a panel discussion format. From 7 to 8 p.m. that night, there will also be a closing reception and catalog release in the Visual Arts Gallery of HSB.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.uis.edu/visualarts/gallery/current-exhibition/. To request accommodations or assistance at the prospective ECCE Speaker Series event, call 217-206-6245 or email [email protected].