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Chicago Works:
Faheem Majeed

Mar 10–Aug 16, 2015

Faheem Majeed (American, b. 1976) is a builder—literally and metaphorically. A resident of South Shore, Majeed often looks to the material makeup of his neighborhood and surrounding areas as an entry point into larger questions around civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional racism. As part of his studio practice, the artist transforms materials such as particle board, scrap metal and wood, and discarded signs and billboard remnants, breathing new life into these often overlooked and devalued materials. His broader engagement with the arts also involves arts administration, curation, and community facilitation, all which feed into his larger practice.

For his first solo museum exhibition, the artist presents sculptural works and installations while also constructing a platform within the gallery and inviting long-time as well as new collaborators to participate in events and performances running periodically throughout the exhibition (a full schedule is forthcoming). In this way, the exhibition presents a plurality of voices, cultural perspectives, and art-making strategies that develop and expand organically, accumulating and metabolizing different materials and visitors’ experiences. Even if only temporarily, the exhibition becomes a microcosm of the greater work the artist is doing, while also alluding and drawing attention to the work still to be done.

As former executive director and curator of the South Side Community Arts Center (2005–11), Majeed was instrumental in reinvigorating this storied organization’s cultural significance as a place of active engagement and learning for people of all walks of life. Now associate director and faculty member at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Majeed further expands his role as a facilitator and arts educator. Recently, he played an important role in developing the University’s first-ever, free arts curriculum—open to anyone who signs up for courses, without bias. These different strategies for engagement foreground the artist’s multiple roles with the arts ecosystem of Chicago, and come to fruition in his collaboration with artists and performers during the exhibition at the MCA.

Chicago Works: Faheem Majeed is organized by Curatorial Assistant Steven L. Bridges.