What Time Is It? debuts an rotating series of large-scale digital portraits of some of Chicago’s most influential cultural community members on the digital facade of the Hyde Park Art Center. These 50 hand-painted portraits, created by Chicago-based artist and organizer, Irina Zadov, highlight contemporary artists, authors, activists and thinkers working now to radically transform our city.
Banner Image above: Irina Zadov, portrait of individuals from left to right in order:Tracie D. Hall, Benji Hart, Tonika Johnson, and Fawn Pochel.
What time is it? is supported by the Illinois Arts Council.
About Irina Zadov
Irina Zadov (she/they) is an artist, educator, and cultural organizer. They are a queer post-Soviet Jewish immigrant and settler on the unceded territories of the Three Fires Confederacy: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi; and also the Myaamia, Inoka, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee, also known as Chicago, IL. Their practice explores the liminal space between the individual and the collective, diasporic community and chosen family, the home and the state. Irina aims to co-create joyful, healing, and liberatory spaces by, for, and with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, young people, and LGBTQIA+ communities. Irina is a student of adrienne maree brown and Mariame Kaba; their highest intention is to practice emergent strategy and abolition within all aspects of their life.
The title of the exhibition derives from a quote from American revolutionary and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) who, along with her husband and civil rights activist, Jimmy Boggs, visualized 3,000 years of human history on a 12-hour clock where each minute represents 50 years. Boggs asked her collaborators and critics alike, “what time is it on the clock of the world?” Extending this metaphor, the couple argued that revolution as the primary driver of social change is only 5 minutes old. Since May 2020, Zadov has used the medium of portrait painting and dialogue to engage artists and organizers around this question, while re-imagining community safety, radical care, housing, displacement, belonging, climate justice, access, and accountability.
The digital portrait series represents individuals across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, and age – with a focus on Chicago’s Black, Indigenous, POC, and LGBTQIA+ communities.
The portraits are one part of a larger cultural and civic archive developed by Zadov including podcasts produced by Najee-Zaid Searcy, a publication, and a public art series in collaboration with J Sath and Rivka Yeker of Hooligan Creatives that is installed within neighborhoods where the individuals reside, with an emphasis on the South and West Sides of Chicago. For more information on What Time Is It? visit https://www.whattimeisitportraits.com/
Icon image on Exhibitions homepage: Irina Zadov, Portrait of Kamilah Rashied, 2020