In 1959, the stage play A Raisin in the Sun debuted in New York on Broadway. This historic play told the story of a fictitious Black American family in Chicago, the Youngers. Their patriarch has passed away and bequeathed a life insurance payout that the family could use to purchase their first home and, thus, enter the American middle class. There is a challenge for this family when multiple generations gather at their mother’s apartment to debate the possibilities of self-determination within a race-biased society, and whether or not they should move into a non-integrated neighborhood where they won’t be welcome.
Today, the play remains significant for many reasons. Playwright Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman to have a show produced on Broadway. A Raisin in the Sun won the New York Drama Critics Circle award that year and was eventually translated into thirty languages. This Black American story has been produced globally for sixty years, as an arts-based format to produce a dialogues on migration and immigration.
Now, the 2021 Raisin exhibition at 6018 North will commission new work and global, multicultural interpretations of this play. This project transcends national borders and brings together various interpretations of a story that is shared by many people in various countries and contexts. From politically driven integration in the United States in the 1960s, to migration and integration across Europe over the past decades, to class inequality in China.
Raisin brings together a global network of artists who are thinking about and creating public conversations around identity and migration in many different places and ways. It additionally builds an artistic network and virtual community that is in constant conversation about Black experiences as global and relatable, as opposed to the isolation and that racism would prefer us to believe and feel. Additionally the exhibition will explore a contemporary art history of complications of translating Blackness into non-Black spaces.
Choosing to base the exhibition on film, video, and photography is especially crucial during this moment of COVID-19. It enables artists and creative works to come together virtually.
This exhibition will open at the 6018 North experimental art space, a three-story house on a residential block in an integrated neighborhood in Chicago. The opening will also be as a satellite location of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Fall 2021.
Led by Asha Iman Veal, curator.
Curatorial assistants, Shannon Lin and Esraa Youssef.
Check back for announcement of artists and full details.
EXHIBITION: Opens at 6018 North experimental art space, for presentation at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Fall 2021.
Supported in part by a generous grant from the 2020 Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellowship and Humanity in Action.