The Elmhurst Biennial
Many artists in Chicago are actively engaged with their communities and the pressing and often highly-charged social issues of our day. Celebrating this artistic approach, Elmhurst Art Museum’s inaugural Biennial, Chicago Statements, provides nineteen artists with a wide-reaching public platform for their messages, their voices and their revelations that address imbalances of power, access and resources. Through drawings, sculpture, video, photography, text and documentation of public projects, the Biennial intends to raise awareness, encourage discussion and promote the power of individual and collective expression and healing. Topics explored by the artists include feminism and motherhood, new technologies, community building, race and power, gun violence, gentrification, poverty, war, environmentalism and immigration, among others.
About Kirsten Leenaars
Fascinated by people, Kirsten Leenaars collects personal stories and rewrites them into imaginary microdramas about relationships and subjective space. Kirsten was born and educated in the Netherlands where she received her BFA in Sculpture, and her MA degree with a focus on socially engaged art. She received her MFA degree in Studio Arts from UIC in 2007. In the following quote Leenaars explains where her interest in art started: “I grew up with a father who is an avid amateur photographer. “World Press Photo” and “The Family of Men” were stacked on our shelves and countless family albums were not only evidence of this passion, but also a record of my father’s love for the ones closest to him. This is not only how my interest in documentary photography was sparked, but also how I started to look at photography as an act of love. Later on, in my own work, I started to try to articulate this relationship between seeing and love while at the same time trying to capture glimpses of a shared humanity and acknowledge the vulnerable state of being human. It was a given for me to actually work with people in my work, since human relationships and the way we relate are at the core of my work.”