The artist, lecturer at SAIC, and recent Bolt Resident (2014-2015) Aram Han Sifuentes, was interviewed by Cultural Reproducers last November, about her work, her family, and the multi-city project - "Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can't" - on view at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum through April 23, 2017. An excerpt of the interview is below.
CR: How has becoming a mother affected your relationship with the art world? In imagining an ideal creative community, what alternative structures or attitude shifts would be part of that?
Aram: I think overall I’ve become bolder in the world. I have more battles to fight and things feel more urgent and pressing because I don’t want things just to change for me, but I need them to change for my daughter. My relationship with the art world is the same. The art world needs more people of color and to represent us in all our complexities.
CR: Can you talk about what you’re working on now, and what’s on the horizon?
Aram: I currently have a solo exhibition at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum called The Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t. During this polarizing election season, I am working with 15 artists and radical thinkers all over the United States and in Mexico to create voting stations that are open to all, but particularly for the disenfranchised. There are at least 106 million people who live in the United States and its territories who are disenfranchised. These groups include: youth, non-citizens, incarcerated, ex-felons (depending on the state), residents of U.S. territories, and those without proper IDs (also, depending on the state). To engage the various communities of the disenfranchised, all of these stations take on different form depending on the collaborator. They range from participatory public artworks to radical performances to pedagogical tools.
Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work at the LuXun Academy of Fine Art in Shenyang, China; the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA; and Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at the Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. She has done workshops and “Immigrant Takeovers” at the Center for Craft Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Han earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Featured image: Aram Han Sifuentes - The Official Unofficial Voting Station (exhibition view / Jane Addams Hull-House Museum)