Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
CUR(8)CHICAGO PRESENTS CHICAGO ARTIST
NEW EXHIBIT, GATES AND FENCES: THE PERFORMANCE,
FEATURING “THE CHI” ACTOR KIARA LANIER
Southside Chicago Natives Collaborate to Help Fund the Historic Opportunity for Stokes to be the Youngest African-American Student to Attend the Esteemed Florence Academy of Art
CUR(8)Chicago and Silent Funny are proud to present the 22-year-old multidisciplinary, identity based performance artist and Chicago native in collaboration with Kiara Lanier at Silent Funny, 4106 W. Chicago Ave., Saturday, March 24. Stokes is the first African-American student to attend the prestigious Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy with a handpicked class of highly skilled artists. This event is one of two exhibits planned to provide financial support for this historic opportunity to study with master painters and nurture Stokes’ natural gifts as an artist. Doors open at 7 p.m., the seated performance begins at 8 p.m. and event ends at 10 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at bit.ly/gatesandfences.
Thelonious Stokes with his work “Captive Girl on Green,” oil on linen in artist’s frame, 36 inches x 36 inches x 10 inches.
In an intimate performance featuring singer/songwriter/actress Kiara Lanier of TV’s “The Chi,” Stokes juxtaposes family safety and mass incarceration. “Gates and Fences” elucidates the notion of transformational rehabilitation utilizing art, music and the muses of Stokes and Lanier. Both performers are Southside Chicago natives and utilize the performance medium to provide a platform to inspire others. Presented by CUR(8)Chicago and hosted at Silent Funny on Chicago’s West side, the raw warehouse will be transformed into a landscape of American civilization fighting systematic injustice with the performance depicting a scene from a dining table in an urban home. In the discussion between a mother and son surrounded by symbolic fencing and the presence of lives affected by the criminal justice system, Stokes will unveil this conceptual ground, simultaneously showing the first piece of the Thelonious Stokes “Caged Black Paintings” collection and the “White Fence Paintings” collection. Stokes and Lanier have collaborated to compose an original score that will be sung by Lanier. The Three-part performance will culminate with Stokes’ call to action, urging the audience to support organizations committed to social justice and incarceration reform.
Stokes says he became an artist for no reason other than to thrive. He utilizes art as a vehicle to reform systematic injustice and redefine our contextual beliefs of what it means to be a man. “Being the first African American to attend the school makes me feel grateful,” expressed Stokes. “Grateful yet aware of the relevance of institutional racism. By being exposed to the beauty of oil painting, I am now able to break the barriers of being defined as Black in America. I want to not only impact art itself, I ultimately want to share light with the inconsistencies of ethics and morale.”
“New Lisa; Captive Girl on Green” by Thelonious Stokes. Oil on linen, 36 inches x 36 inches, unframed.
ABOUT THELONIOUS STOKES
Thelonious Stokes describes himself as a multidisciplinary, identity-based performance artist from Chicago. He uses performance as an objective medium, extracting black expectations as conversation for cultural extremes to re-conceptualize the black experience as foreign stationery, as a displaced individual likening one to being a foreigner. In his first collection, "The Caged Black Paintings," Stokes houses his multi-dimensional, chiaroscuro-style oil paintings in hand-welded metal cages, redefining the frame around art. His work stands out with each piece housed behind metal bars, reminiscent of cages looked at as housing devices to gesticulate a Western reference.
Stokes is the founder of Thelovism, his production company where he serves as director and editor, producing videos for buzzing rap artists Taylor Bennett, Joey Purp and his younger brother Satchel Stokes, a blossoming performer who has been a source of inspiration for his art. He also works with Campaign for Youth Justice as a national spokesperson working to ensure that youth are not tried, sentenced or incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system.
Named after American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, Stokes was born to create. He grew up influenced by his mother, jazz singer Vikki Stokes, his cousin, artist Dale Washington and some of Chicago's most celebrated talents like Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mars Williams, DJ Jesse De La Pena, Jazz Singer Bobbi Wilson and the late great composer William Russo.
ABOUT KIARA LANIER
Chicago native Kiara Lanier is a vocal performance artist, songwriter and model who lives by her grandfather's mantra, "The only purpose of the tongue is to teach and heal." Using mixed media musical installation and sound healing in her performance, Lanier’s spiritual, soulful and sultry work covers themes of identity and ancestry with vocal loops, field samples and experimental choreography. Lanier studied performance art with The Meredith Monk Foundation, collaborated in David Bowie’s Film ‘Station to Station,’ released a two part album “Tongues and Teaspoons” in September 2017 and has starred in television shows “American Idol,” “Empire” and most recently “The Chi.”
CUR(8)Chicago, an event production and experience design company, founded by Josephine Lauer Washuk. Washuk is a creative strategist who meets the needs of a diverse client portfolio. With a mission to discover and develop authentic talent, brands and organizations, her vision is that all individuals and organizations fulfill their highest potential.
ABOUT SILENT FUNNY
Silent Funny is a 501(c)(3) arts space and community hub in Chicago's West Humboldt Park neighborhood. The organization believes that everyone can have life-changing experiences with the arts and strives to create a haven where art, artists and everyday people connect in a contemporary and active space that is inclusive and inspiring. www.silentfunny.org
ABOUT THE FLORENCE ACADEMY OF ART
The Florence Academy of Art was founded in 1991 by Daniel Graves to provide the highest level of instruction in classical drawing, painting and sculpture. Graves' vision of the Academy is its potential to train a select group of highly skilled Realist painters and sculptors. Since 1991, the Academy has grown to nine studio locations in three countries, 25 principle instructors, ten assistant instructors and six administrative staff, giving instruction and service to 150 students from 35 countries. To date, 600 students have attended The Florence Academy of Art for at least one trimester; this number includes 325 students who have completed the full program of study and are considered graduates. In January 2015, the Academy opened its second branch at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ. Jordan Sokol is the academic director and Richard Greathouse and Amaya Gurpide are Principal Instructors. Their mission is to provide the highest level of instruction in classical methods of drawing, painting and sculpture for students wishing to pursue careers as professional artists in the Realist tradition.
CUR(8)Chicago and Silent Funny are proud to present the 22-year-old multidisciplinary, identity based performance artist and Chicago native Thelonious Stokes and his exhibit “Gates and Fences: The Performance” in collaboration with Kiara Lanier at Silent Funny, 4106 W. Grand Ave., Saturday, March 24. Stokes is the first African-American student to attend the prestigious Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy with a handpicked class of highly skilled artists. This event is one of two exhibits planned to provide financial support for this historic opportunity to study with master painters and nurture Stokes’ natural gifts as an artist. Doors open at 7 p.m., the seated performance begins at 8 p.m. and event ends at 10 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at bit.ly/gatesandfences.