Simply Wonderful

Well since Summer '18 wasn't officially over, I realized I still have a couple more weeks to get some fun things in while at the same time drowning in the overwhelming amount of things that have been keeping me busy. For starters, it was my first Eid away from home and family, but thank goodness for Michigan friends residing in Chicago who made it feel like home! Here's what I've been up to these past couple of weeks before school officially starts, taking in the simple wonders of Chicago!

My friend, Vicki, and I curated an exhibition in the Arts Admin lounge at SAIC called, Connectivity Through the Arts. This was an initiative taken on by both of us to create a space in the lounge that displays the creative practices of our cohort, giving us an opportunity to have conversations around our own artistic endeavors and talents. We felt that it was important for us to include the artist process and practice within our conversations around art and its role in society. Most of us in the program are practicing artists and this is a great way for us to share our art with our peers. We eventually hope to continue this next semester and possibly make it an annual event.

I spent my first Eid away from home with Gina, who recently just moved to Chicago from Michigan in January, so at least I had the feeling of home. We went to DIC for prayer and did brunch at the famous Lou Mitchell's after grabbing some amazing coffee at Hero's. Then we both went to work. What can I say, adulting!

I hit up the Boxville farmer's market to gain better insight about the work that one of the Field's grantee is doing. It was truly an inspiring and humbling experience to be welcomed into a community that is so proud of their successful entrepreneurs and celebrates their cultural heritage. Boxville is right off the 51st stop on the Green line and consists of a rooftop garden, a community garden, a market place with shops inside container boxes, and a kid's activity zone called the Neighborhood Square, all of which is pulled together by art and music.

I recently connected with Sabrina Greig, an alumni of SAIC from the Art History department. Sabrina works for the Fry Foundation as a Program director and is currently the curator in residency at Chicago Artists Coalition. Her current exhibition Leaf by Leaf looks at identities embedded in cultural landscapes, specifically coming out of colonized territories. Whit Forrester looks at human relationships to the natural world through a spiritual lens, adorning plant life in gold leaf. It was such an amazing exhibition, touching on topics that I've recently began to explore about post-colonized identities and formulating new narratives within the scope of modern society.

I discovered a new bakery by the red line station I take in the morning to the loop called pHlour bakery & cafe. Some morning I like to take my time to grab some iced coffee and an almond croissant from there before getting on the train. My brother, Belal also stopped by one weekend before heading out to Minneapolis with this friends. We went to Parlor Pizza for the best pizza ever and ice cream tacos!! SO good! And obviously, no regrets!

Living on the north side has its perks, for example, I'm only 20 minutes from Evanston, so my friends and I went up one day for brunch and then walked around the campus at Northwestern University. It was just so amazingly beautiful, and aside from it being 90 degrees that day, we had such a nice time up there. The view of the city is surreal from Evanston beach and part of me wants to go to the Northwestern campus for study days this semester!

We also stopped by the Block Museum of Art to see Paul Chan: Happiness (finally) after 35.000 years of civilization, an animation of imagery by outside artist Henry Darger, that was inspired by utopian thought and the US invasion of Iraq. Chan animates his imagery on a ultra-wide screen, depicting cycles of ecstasy and carnage, hope ,and despair. I'm so inspired by everything I saw in this exhibition and will be studying more into it. Evanston was a great way to end summer! And now it's onto the last year of grad school....

Starting with our new pink flags, you know that I secretly really love them. Here's to another great year with much more to experience and grow from. My first year in Chicago has been Simply Wonderful.

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