Friday, March 27, 2015

WORK WERQ Art Exhibition and Performances featuring Chicago-based Asian American Artists at FLATSstudio

This exhibition has been organized in partnership with the April 23-25, 2015 Association for Asian American Studies annual conference. Along with Mark Chiang from UIC, I am serving as the site committee co-chair. This is one of two of our events that is free and open to the general public. Special thanks to our site committee member Larry Lee for facilitating the organization of this exhibition.

Contact:  Jacqueline Chao

Aram Han Sifuentes

Art Exhibition and Performances featuring
Chicago-based Asian American Artists at FLATSstudio

CHICAGO, IL – March 26, 2015 – Work Werq is a group art exhibition featuring work by Matthew Avignone, Aram Han Sifuentes, Regin Igloria, Audra Jacot, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Hee Ran Lee with Kinnari Vora, Patricia Nguyen, Soo Shin, Leonard Suryajaya, and _jJ4XXX5YN_ (collaboration between jonCates and 愛真 Janet Lin), curated by Jacqueline Chao and Aram Han Sifuentes. The exhibition will have an opening reception featuring live performances on Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 6-10 pm at FLATSstudio No. 1050, located at 1050 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL. The exhibition will run April 23-May 8, 2015.  To attend the opening reception, please RSVP to by Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Leonard Suryajaya. Mom and all the
jewelry she bought herself with her own
money. 2015. Archival inkjet print. 
40” x50”. Image is courtesy of the artist.
About the Exhibition

Work (\ˈwərk\) noun, verb, adjective:  labor, process, art.

Werq (\ˈwərk\) verb: to wear (whether clothes or skin) with ferocity.

Work Werq challenges preconceived notions of Asian (American) identity. The exhibition presents Chicago-based Asian American artists who explore a range of topics including: migration, globalization, gender, queer politics and identity.  Opening night will include visual arts of various media and live performances.

This exhibition is organized in partnership with the Association of Asian American Studies 2015 Annual Conference, to be held at the Hilton Orrington in Evanston, IL, from April 23-25, 2015. 

About the Artists

Matthew Avignone is a Korean-American photographer born in 1987. In 2011, he obtained is B.A. in photography from Columbia College, Chicago. He has been nominated for the 2012 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographer (The Baum Foundation, San Francisco, CA). His work has been exhibited at the Aperture Foundation (2011) and in the Pingyao Photography Festival: Student Exhibition, Pingyao, China (2011). His book, An Unfinished Body, is now part of the collections of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film (Rochester, New York) and the International Center for Photography (New York, NY). He is currently working and living in Chicago.

Regin Igloria maintains a studio practice in Chicago, IL, which revolves around teaching and serving as an arts administrator. He has taught at Marwen, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Rhode Island School of Design, and many local institutions. In 2010, he founded North Branch Projects, a community bookbinding project based in Albany Park, Chicago. Currently he serves as the Director of Residencies & Fellowships at The Ragdale Foundation. His work has been exhibited and collected internationally, including the ANTI Contemporary Art Festival, Out of Site Performance Festival Chicago, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, The Franklin, Zg Gallery, and The Center for Book Arts NYC. He is a recipient of a 3Arts Teaching Artist Award, Propeller Grant, 96 Acres Project Grant, and an Americans for the Arts Fellowship. Residencies include Ucross, ACRE, and The Wormfarm Institute. He received his MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design.

Audra Jacot is a Filipino-American artist and curator based out of Chicago. Raised in the Mormon faith, Jacot's work celebrates the empowerment of sexuality through sculptural form. She recently received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, through the Art and Technology program. Her work was recently featured in Bravo’s 100 Days of Summer. She is currently the Chief Curator for FLATSstudio in Chicago as well as the Tech Coordinator for the CPS Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37.

Kiam Marcelo Junio (preferred gender pronoun: "they/them") is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist creating work through various media, including but not limited to, photography, video, performance (blending butoh, drag and burlesque), sculpture and installation, and culinary arts.  Their research and art practice centers around queer identities, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, post/colonialist Asian American tropes and stereotypes, military power dynamics, the politics of personal agency, and social justice through collaborative practices and healing modalities. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. They were born in the Philippines, and have lived in the U.S., Japan, and Spain.

Hee Ran Lee is a performance artist whose body centered work explores private and public gestures of the Asian female body in the patriarchal power structure and investigates cultural marginalization. Her recent grants have included the ARKO Young Art Frontier from Arts Council Korea (2013), she was a Semi-finalist for the emerging artist prize from The Claire Rosen & Samuel Edes Foundation (2012) and The Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship (2012). Her work has been shown at Culture Station Seoul 284(Korea 2014), Grace Exhibition Space (New York 2013), The Watermill Center (New York 2012), Defibrillator Gallery (Chicago 2012), and Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai 2011). She holds an MFA specializing in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently a fellow artist of LEIMAY 2014-2015 at CAVE in New York.

Patricia Nguyen is a Chicago based performance artist, healer, and educator. She has over 10 years of experience in performance, arts education, community development and human rights, which has taken her work to the United States, Vietnam, Brazil, and the Philippines. Her current work explores the dialectic between modernity and dispossession as it relates to notions of freedom and home. She has performed at the Nha San Collective in Vietnam, the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, Oberlin College, Northwestern University, and University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2010, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to work in Vietnam. She has since co-founded cây, the first life skills and art therapy reintegration program with the Pacific Links Foundation for human trafficking survivors along the border regions of Vietnam. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. 

Soo Shin was born in Seoul, Korea and currently lives and works in Chicago. She holds an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. She is interested in the duality of having faith in the unknown and the codependent nature between faith and struggle. Through sculpture, painting, and drawing she turns the psychological struggle into physical experience using the latency of body in her work. She is a recipient of the Vilcek Foundation Fellowship at Mac Dowell Colony Artists residency (Peterbrough, NH) Program and has recently shown her work at Peregrine Program (Chicago, IL), the Dominican University (River Forest, IL), the Rhodes College (Memphis, TN).

Influenced by the cultural milieu of experiencing intra-ethnic relations in Indonesia, Leonard Suryajaya’s work explores identity, culture, gender, and sexuality. By utilizing photography, video, along with elements of performance and installation, his work challenges and deconstructs the perspective we use to scrutinize and observe our roles in a transnational global world. He is currently in his second year as a candidate for an MFA in photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Kinnari Vora, a versatile dancer and choreographer, was born in India. She started learning Bharatnatyam, Classical dance form of South India at the age of 5 and continued her advanced training under Guru Sarmishtha Sarkar (India). She also learnt Kathak, a North Indian Classical dance form and various Indian folk dances with Setu folk dance group. Kinnari, has performed both Classical and Folk dances in several prestigious dance festivals in India, US, Greece, Poland, Italy, Israel. Currently based in Chicago, Kinnari found the right platform to suffice her creative thirst for classical, folk, contemporary and fusion Bollywood at Pranita Jain’s Mandala and Kalapriya Dance Company. Her recent performances include Redmoon Theater’s winter pageant, all night World music festival, Harris Theater, Chicago summer dance, Chicago humanities festival.

_jJ4XXX5YN_ is the Noise Country duet of jonCates && 愛真 Janet Lin, who got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout.

About the Curators

Jacqueline Chao has a doctoral degree in Art History from Arizona State University with research emphasis in Chinese art.  She has organized and independently curated several art exhibitions, including at the Phoenix Art Museum, ASU Art Museum, and the University of Toronto Art Centre, as well as published extensively on early and contemporary Chinese artists. She currently teaches East Asian Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and researches Chinese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work at the LuXun Academy of Fine Art in Shenyang, China, and the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, “73,000 forms” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL, and “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC. Han earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013.

Work Werq
Featuring Matthew Avignone, Aram Han Sifuentes, Regin Igloria, Audra Jacot, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Hee Ran Lee with Kinnari Vora, Patricia Nguyen, Soo Shin, Leonard Suryajaya, and _jJ4XXX5YN_ (collaboration between jonCates and 愛真 Janet Lin)
Curated by Jacqueline Chao and Aram Han Sifuentes
Exhibition dates:  April 23-May 8, 2015

Opening reception: Thursday, April 23, from 6-10 PM
Featuring performances, DJ, and drinks throughout the evening.
To attend the opening reception, please RSVP to by Wednesday, April 22, 2015.


FLATSstudio is our way of using empty storefronts and vacant commercial spaces in FLATS buildings to support, engage and encourage the artistic spirits of our community. FLATSstudio is an organically evolving program with the core goal of using the Arts to develop the community where FLATS residents live. FLATSstudio creates spaces to live, produce, and exhibit – tying the artists directly with the community by creating services available to give back. Our program hosts monthly galleries on the third Friday of every month and also offers an artist housing program to those who qualify.

FLATSstudio, 1050 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL, 60640
(CTA:  easily accessible on the RED Line, Wilson stop).
All viewings after the opening reception are by appointment only. 
To schedule a visit, please email


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