Take Refuge: Beizar Aradini, Nuveen Bawari, Aram Han Sifuentes, and Tshab Her
October 5-26th 2019
Opening Reception, Sat. Oct 5th 6-9pm

Beizar Aradini, “Three women”, 20x28in, thread, 2019

Coop is pleased to present TAKE REFUGE, a group exhibit featuring the work of four artists whose work revolves around the current discussions of immigration and sanctuary.  TAKE REFUGE is a reminder for the stakes of our humanity, a call for compassion, and a primer on how to “we”. Amid ongoing anxieties of belonging and citizenship, reinvigorated in part by escalating policies of exclusion, immigrants and refugees are constantly navigating where and how they can feel safe in the spaces that proclaim histories of inclusion. To take refuge is to take sanctuary – to be safe in an environment of constant instability, but it also gestures to the labor of care work that women do in order to offer comfort. In gesturing to acts of “we”-ing, of being together and of making room for each other, the works on view feature four women diasporic artists of immigrant and refugee backgrounds that navigate these questions of belonging. Working with textiles as conceptual and material orientations, the works by Beizar Aradini, Nuveen Bawari, Aram Han Sifuentes, and Tshab Her reflect on what it means being here and what it’s like to be enfolded into the conversations to we.

About the artists:

Beizar Aradini (b.1991) was born in Mardin, Turkey and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work examines cultural displacement and addresses the challenges of growing up in a diasporic culture, while reclaiming the historical coding of embroidery as a medium of communication.

Nuveen Barwari is a multidisciplinary artist born in Nashville, TN in 1995 and grew up in Duhok, Kurdistan. In 2013 She returned to Nashville to graduate from high school. Barwari then continued her education at the Tennessee State University where she completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Studio Art and is currently attending the University of Tennessee Knoxville for a Master’s in Fine Art.

Barwari uses her work to spark social commentary on her stateless nation of Kurdistan, preserving culture and aid in giving voice to an often-forgotten people of the Middle East. Mediums include painting, photography, screen printing, mixed media, and installation including traditional Kurdish attire. Barwari has worked with and completed projects with the Frist Art Museum, Oasis Center’s Art and Activism Series, and McGruder Social Practice Artist Residency (M-SPAR). She is the founder of the brand, Fufu Creations supplying apparel and art internationally. Fufu Creations was a featured designer in Kurdistan’s first ever fashion week in 2018.

Tshab Her (#itspronouncedcha) is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She was born of refugee parents in Winfield, Illinois in 1991 and is a second generation Hmong American. Her’s work focuses on the dualities of living in the in-between, the in/visibility of the Hmong diaspora, the politics of displacement, and history of refugeeism in America. Her received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016 and has participated in local residencies such as the LAUNCH Invitational Residency of the Chicago Artist Coalition and The Overlook. She is currently working on projects involving embroidery and cross-stitch in reflection of traditional Hmong needlework (story cloths and paj ntaub). Her often collaborates with her mother while reconciling what it means to be a Hmong woman in America.

Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber, social practice, and performance artist who works to claim spaces for immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion, and protest. Her work has been exhibited at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO), Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago, IL), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum (Seoul, South Korea), and the Design Museum (London, UK).

Aram is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, 2016 3Arts Awardee, and 2017 Sustainable Arts Foundation Awardee. She earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.