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MAMA GLORIA: IN HER HONOR

June 23 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A film screening and community gathering in honor of the late Mama Gloria Allen.

 

Luchina Fisher will screen her film Mama Gloria, in addition to honoring the life and impact of Gloria Allen, a Black transgender icon and activist who dedicated her life to Chicago’s trans community.

 

 

Mama Gloria (2020) by Luchina Fisher. 1h 16m

Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen (1945 – 2022) blazed a trail for trans people like few others before her. Emerging from Chicago’s South Side drag ball culture in the 1960s, Gloria overcame traumatic violence to become a proud leader in her community. Most famously, she pioneered a charm school for young transgender people that served as inspiration for the hit play Charm. Luchina Fisher’s empathic and engaging documentary is not only a portrait of a groundbreaking legend, but also a celebration of unconditional love, the love Gloria received from her own mother and that she now gives to her chosen children.

 

 

 

LUCHINA FISHER (she/her) is an award-winning director, writer and producer who works at the intersection of race, gender and identity. She is the founder and CEO of Little Light Productions. Her feature directorial debut Mama Gloria, about Chicago trans icon activist Gloria Allen, was nominated for a 2022 GLAAD Media Award. The film premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and BFI Flare London; won numerous jury awards; and made its broadcast debut on World channel and PBS. Previously, Luchina co-executive produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed feature documentary Birthright: A War Story, which appeared in more than 70 theaters nationwide, qualified for Oscar consideration and streamed on Hulu. She is the director of two scripted short films, including Danger Word, and has written and produced several nationally broadcast documentaries. She most recently produced two episodes of the upcoming History channel series with President Bill Clinton and is directing a feature documentary on predatory lending in housing. Luchina began her career as a journalist and has written for People, the Miami Herald, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine and ABCNews.com. Luchina is a Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellow and a member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia, the Black Documentary Collective and Film Fatales. She is an inaugural recipient of the Brown Girl Doc Mafia Black Director’s Grant and a Spark Fund Award Winner from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Firelight Media. Luchina is based in the New York City area.

 

This program is presented in conjunction with EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center, currently on view until July 2, 2022.

 

EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center spotlights The South Side Community Art Center’s historical role in supporting a full spectrum of Black artists through an intersectional viewpoint. The first exhibition of its kind at the South Side Community Art Center, EMERGENCE positions the Center as an important anchor for Black LGBTQ artists who belonged to its community from its founding in 1940 to the 1980s and beyond.

 

Funding for EMERGENCE programming is generously supported by Northwestern University.

Details

Date:
June 23
Time:
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
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MIXED MEDIA AND STILL LIFE

Works in EMERGENCE are diverse in their subject matter and media, but a few themes reappear throughout. Working in abstraction or in the traditionally peaceful genre of still life, artists like William Carter, Allen Stringfellow, and Jonathan Green express themes of interiority or sociability, history or modernity. Notably, Stringfellow and Ralph Arnold both experimented with media and materials and worked extensively in collage, which allowed them to combine abstract design, figurative imagery, and on occasion political ideas.

Viewers typically expect Black artists to focus on particular aspects of their social and political identities within their work. Where might those expectations come from? Still life, abstraction, and collage may express many different things about artists’ interior lives and their visual and social observation, whether connected to public manifestations of identity or not.

William Carter’s mid-century still life Untitled presents a group of vibrantly colored bottles that invite the viewer’s gaze, set against a similarly colorful background with floral elements like grapes and leaves. They give evidence of conviviality and might be interpreted as symbols of social gatherings, but they could also just be a collection of pleasing forms. We might put Carter’s still life in dialogue with that of Jonathan Green, who became close friends with Carter while living in Chicago. Green’s close-up view of an eloquently simple composition presents oranges, a pear, and a lemon in front of two vessels. Works like this piece call the viewer to examine the objects the artist chose to include, to consider how they interact with each other like bodies in space, and to reflect on their meaning within the traditional genre of still life painting.

Collage might suggest the piecing together of identity from different components that might not usually coexist, giving room for more expansive imaginations of meaning than a straightforward representational image might allow. It could also just be an inventive way of combining colors, shapes, and textures. Allen Stringfellow’s Untitled, a collage from 1962, brings familiar motifs from still life—fruit and flowers, desserts and glassware—together with imagery of artist’s models and performers. Layered with paint and tissue paper that frustrate the viewer’s attempt to get clarity on the subject matter, the bursts of form and colors hint at the splashy abstraction of Stringfellow’s untitled, textured painting made from house paint and particulate on cardboard. Here the artist tests commonly found materials to create new textures and plays with the creation of colors and finishes that diverge from “Western” academic painting methods.

In The Waiting, Arnold constructs a large collage from different paper components, lace, and paint. In the piece, elements of European and African art are placed in dialogue with one another, while some figures appear alone and isolated, others in large groups. Without giving easy answers, Arnold implies questions about social issues. Who is waiting, and for what? In his Love Sign II, which bears the words “Love is Universal,” Arnold asserts the equal validity of all types of romantic affection and love, utilizing collage to convey a more straightforward political message.