these are not my problem
Declared by President John F. Kennedy during his “Berlin Wall” speech, these words—often quoted and re-appropriated—are as relevant today as they were in 1963. As we look at the world, we can neither deny the presence of widespread injustice nor deny how we, as a people, have failed to respond to it. In order to insulate ourselves from injustice, we are taught to distance ourselves from suffering. To protect ourselves from facing oppression, we have allowed ourselves to be washed of its presence around us. It has been the service of many of our institutions to systematically create this distance for us, reinforcing false divisions, and relieving us of our most basic human responsibilities. As we look at the world today, it seems we have forgotten that we belong to one another.
The exhibition aims to break down the walls that separate everyday people from the awareness of injustice in their midst. These Are Not My Problems humbly invites you to open yourself up to the vulnerability of looking at the world through the eyes of a shared humanity.
I founded, curated and designed These Are Not My Problems. Partnering with social justice organizations and artists we were able to unite a array of different industries and people all under one roof to experience the humanity of these issues and share in open dialogue.
To ensure that artwork is informed by ground-level work for justice, we have paired contemporary social justice issues with Chicago-based champions of human rights. These issues, understood through the lens of social justice organizations, offer unique insight into what fundamentally lies behind the struggle for justice. We have invited artists to garner inspiration from these organizations, to learn how they resist injustice, uncover the truth, and advocate for the oppressed. It is our goal that this process will create an informed perspective, grasping the core of the struggle behind these issues, and inspiring the most accurate artistic expression.
Artists: Adam Hanson / Sam Kirk / Christopher Branson / Emily Haasch / Dawn Hancock / Margot Harrington / Justin Santora / Vanessa DellaMorte / Delicious Design League / Matthew Harlan
Photographed by Dan Peters
Role: Founder & Creative Director