EXPO | Tea Project
EXPO Chicago! The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art Chicago is here and as a SAIC student I had a free ticket in. Not only are there numerous galleries who attend from around the world, but local galleries, organizations, and schools also get a chance to showcase artist's works right here at Navy Pier.
As I only had two hours before class go to EXPO, because I was heading home to Detroit for the weekend, I skimmed my way through the aisles and got a first hand look at the commodity that art is and how vital it is to keep up with the art market. Aside from the snobby gallerists, EXPO was an amazing experience and I don't possibly have the space here to talk about all the artworks I saw, so I'll mention the most important piece that stuck with me even after I left.
There were many art pieces that took a stand on important political issues and the Tea Project, in particular, was one that approached Human Rights violation issues in quite an unusual and creative way. "During the last 15 years, the United States imprisoned at least 780 Muslim men, nearly all without charge, at Guantanamo Bay in violation of international law. The Tea Project contains 780 cast porcelain Styrofoam teacups, on for each of these men. Each cup bears one of these individual's name and country of citizenship, and is engraved with national or indigenous flowers from that country. The number of flowers engraved on each cup represents the number of men detained from their respective country of citizenship."
The Tea Project is such a powerful piece and one that puts the act of drinking tea out of its usual context of bringing people together and placing it in a situation where that one cup of tea became the consolation of the men who had to endure such horrific torture. The white styrofoam cups became their blank canvas where they drew back the beauty of a life that was taken from them. If you want more information about this project, their website is www.tea-project.org
On a lighter note, I'll leave you with some playful art.