Artist Adeshola Makinde on His New Exhibition Celebrating Blackness

Adeshola Makinde is a Nigerian American multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago, Illinois. During his upbringing in the Chicagoland suburbs, Makinde attended predominantly white schools during his younger years that were starkly different from the life he led at home with his immigrant parents from Nigeria. These schools also lacked curriculums that engaged with a great deal of Black history and culture. This neglect of Black subject matter led Makinde on a personal journey of Black consciousness, with much of his artwork exploring the feelings of joy that arise on the journey towards true liberation.

Throughout his practice, Makinde often features source material from Johnson Publishing Company publications such as EBONY and JET magazines. Makinde utilizes these images of Black life in his work to highlight social justice themes and challenge viewers to question the systems they find themselves in.

Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery announced a yearlong partnership to present a series of exhibitions spotlighting the importance of Black space, Black art, and Black artists at the Stony Island Arts Bank in 2022. Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery will kick off the series on January 20th with ‘Is where it’s at!’, a special exhibition from Chicago-based Nigerian American artist Adeshola Makinde.

“I’m so thrilled to partner with Easy Otabor and Anthony Gallery to showcase and celebrate Black artists at the Stony Island Arts Bank,” said Theaster Gates, Founder and Executive Director of Rebuild Foundation. “It is an honor to support emerging gallerists and artists who are using their craft and platform to amplify the culture. Black neighborhoods are brimming with creative ambition and we’re proud to provide a platform for these emerging young artists. It’s especially fulfilling to kick off this series than with Adeshola Makinde’s work highlighting the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company, connecting our spaces and our archives to Chicago’s creative communities.”

“Since learning about the Stony Island Arts Bank, it’s been a dream of mine to elevate the work of talented Black artists throughout Chicago and across the country,” said Easy Otabor, Founder of Anthony Gallery. “Partnering with Theaster Gates and developing these shows at the Arts Bank allows curators, collectors, and gallerists like myself to demonstrate the rich cultural talent that exists within our communities and has long been overlooked. We’re excited to share these collections and bodies of work with the South Side.”

“Is where it’s at!” features a mixture of newer and older works as the artist’s aim is to speak with immediacy to Black people living in this time. The show derives its title from Nina Simone’s Young, Gifted and Black performance of the song at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a song that celebrates the beauty of Black people and youth as the future. “Is where it’s at!” is an ode to Black people who continue to enrich the culture of the world, urging us to never forget the power that we possess.

The Chicago Defender spoke with Adeshola Makinde about his latest exhibition, “Is where it’s at!” and why celebrating black joy is important.

“Is where it’s at!” is an ode to Black people who continue to enrich the culture of the world,” said Adeshola Makinde, multidisciplinary artist. “Presenting this work in a space inextricably linked to Black excellence and being able to draw upon the Johnson Publishing Library at the Arts Bank is an honor. I’m excited to partner with Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery to share my work in Black space on the South Side.”

“Is where it’s at!” will open at 5 pm on Thursday, January 20. Guests should wear a mask and provide proof of vaccination in accordance with CDC guidelines. The exhibition will be on view at the Stony Island Arts Bank Thursdays through Sundays from 12 pm to 6 pm from January 21, 2022, to February 27, 2022. Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery will collaborate throughout the year to produce and present several exhibitions at the Arts Bank.


For more information about this collaboration, please visit

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