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Black Artists Get Ready to Shine at Expo Chicago

The Chicago Black art ecosystem is strong and global.  From The American Negro Exposition  in 1940; to the formation of the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC)  in 1940; to countless movements originating here like BAM and AFRICOBRA; to recently launched collectives like the Kulture Museum, the art scene in Chicago has always been fire.  When EXPO CHICAGO,  the international exposition of contemporary and modern art opens April 7 – 10th, the Black art ecosystem will be on full display.  Pigment International®,  a Black woman-led, multi-media art platform, and magazine publisher will be documenting Black art joy as a media partner to this year’s EXPO. Pigment will showcase the works of artists James Nelson, Dana Todd Pope, D. Lamar Preston, and Ariana Vaeth and offer the latest edition of its Pigment Magazine. Previous issues of the magazine will be available, as well as unique art collectibles.

On Friday, April 8th, 3:30 – 4:40 pm, Pigment International® will be one of the sponsors of an EXPO Chicago Dialogue titled The Education of the Un-Artist:  Part I, with Silicon Valley born and raised artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed.  The panel will discuss how the most compelling practitioners working with the arts today are no longer limited by a singular medium or discipline.  Rather their work emerges as a collaborative process that intersects with multiple communities, cultures, and contexts.

Below are just a few highlights of EXPO CHICAGO 2022:

Join the conversation on April 6 when Pigment International will take part in a Clubhouse conversation with Chicago-bred Journalist Dometi Pongo.   We will discuss the global influence Chicago has had on Black visual arts – at 6:00 pm (ET).

Self-identified Igbo Vernacular, Nigerian-based artist REWA created the cover work for the Winter 2021-22 issue of Pigment Magazine titled Somoto in Pink Jeans. Her work was most recently exhibited during Art Miami in December and in March the Governor of Lagos State recognized her as one of the EKO 100 WOMEN, who are dedicated to creating an equitable world. See her work at  She will sign copies of Pigment Magazine and her work will be exhibited by DeBuck Gallery, Booth #364

Myrtis Bedolia, the founder of Myrtis Galerie, is the first African American gallery to be invited to exhibit at the 2022 Venice Bienniale-affiliated exhibition “Personal Structures: Time, Space and Existence.” “The Afro‐Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined” is the theme of the exhibition.  Her story is featured in the Winter 2021-22 issue of Pigment Magazine.

Kaila Austin is an Indianapolis-based artist, historian, and culture keeper, who has been dubbed the “Rogue Historian” for her work documenting the oldest Black community in the city, the Norwood District, and the US Colored Troops.  Through her team’s efforts, the City of Indianapolis cancelled all building of a coroner’s office slated to be built in the neighborhood.  Of the project Austin has said, It’s rare to find something so beautiful in the neighborhood you’re born in, so I’m grateful for the chance to continue working with the descendants of the US Colored Troops to chart a new future for their community in its 150th year.”

Works by Lynthia Edwards, Melvin Nesbitt Jr., and Phyliss Stephens will be featured at Richard Beavers Gallery,  Booth #131.  We love that Beavers leaves artwork outside his Harlem gallery for random passersby to snag.  It is reminiscent of Dr. Margaret Burroughs.

Pamela J. Eatman of Blackbird Gallery in Detroit will be attending.  We are hearing much about the vibrant Detroit Black art scene.

Mali Jeffers and Alan Bacon, co-founders of cultural development firm GANGGANG and creators of BUTTER, Indianapolis’ first major Black art fair, will attending.

D.C. based artist, Martryce Roach, first came to Chicago as an exhibitor at the Other Art Fair and will be back during EXPO.  She has an amazing work featuring Theaster Gates’s Stoney Island Art Bank.

Chicago born media talent Dometi Pongo host a Clubhouse will be dropping by Pigment’s Booth during EXPO CHICAGO.

Some highlights of Dialogues @ EXPO Chicago include:

Friday April 8 – 12:00 pm
Hans Ulrich Obrist in Conversation with AFRICOBRA

Panelists | AFRICOBRA artists: Gerald Williams (SAIC 1966-67, Artist), Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959-61, Artist), Wadsworth Jarrell (SAIC 1958, Artist), Sherman Beck (Artist), and other key members of AFRICOBRA in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist (Curator and Artistic Director | Serpentine Galleries, London).

Friday, April 8 – 5:00–6:00pm

Dawoud Bey in Conversation
Panelists | Dawoud Bey (Artist), Sarah Meister (Executive Director | Aperture)

Sunday, April 10 | 12pm

Derrick Adams and Paula Panczenko on Collaborative Printmaking
Panelists | Derrick Adams (Artist), Paula Panczenko (Director | Tandem Press), Jason Ruhl (Master Printer | Tandem Press). Moderated by Jenny Gibbs (Executive Director | IFPDA).

Hours for Expo

EXPO CHICAGO takes place April 7 – 10 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall during the following hours:
Thursday, April 7 | 12:00 – 6:00pm Press Preview
Thursday, April 7 | 6:00 – 9:00pm Vernissage, Opening Night Benefit
Friday, April 8 | 11:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday, April 9 | 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, April 10 | 11:00am – 6:00pm

“Pigment International® is excited to partner with EXPO CHICAGO this year.  It is a coming out party of sorts post COVID for global art lovers,” said Patricia Andrews-Keenan, founder of Pigment International.  What a wonderful prelude to our team heading to Venice for the 2022 Biennale de Arte later this month, where we will capture the proliferation of Black artists exhibiting on the world’s largest art stage.”

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