Michael Gaylord James
Crossing Borders: Photographs from Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua
Closing Reception April 7th from 6-9pm
URI-EICHEN Gallery 2101 S Halsted Chicago IL 60608
Michael Gaylord James: My perspective and perceptions on life, on the realities of the world, were transformed in 1962 when I crossed the US border into Matamoros, México. It didn’t take much; I was ready, always rooting for the underdog, for “the people.” A Triumph motorcycle trip to Mexico City at age 20 sped my transformation from liberal young guy to radical young guy.
Then a fan of President Kennedy I was excited he was coming to the Capitol. There with my camera I was quickly learning not everyone liked him nor the USA. One photo later revealed scrubbed graffiti saying “Kennedy Largate,” “Kennedy get out of here!” In Guerrero signs expressing anti-US and pro leftist sentiment were abundant: “Comunismo Si, Capitalismo No, Viva Cuba, Cuba Si and USA No!” I had thought we were the good guys. Now I was seeing, hearing, learning; and I was changing. My eyes were open; as were my mind, and my heart.
Since then, I’ve been to other nations at odds with the USA’s imperialist policies, policies I reject. These photo selections are from visits to Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cuba, all countries in the Western Hemisphere influenced and shaped by US policy, and whose people stand opposed to the USA’s Imperialist control and subjugation.
My photography is framed by the human condition. This exhibit of work shot in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America records the universality of the people’s happiness and sadness, of hardship, and struggle, of determination and conviction.
1997 Workers at Cuban Sugar Cane Processing Facility
Mostly Men and Money on Maxwell Street
Photographs of Shakir Denar Karriem
Opening Reception: April 14th from 6-9pm
URI-EICHEN Gallery 2101 S Halsted Chicago IL 60608
Special Event Series!
As the fiftieth anniversary of the bloody, U.S.-backed military coup in Chile approaches, the Uri-Eichen Gallery will feature six months of exhibits and programs that capture the stories of President Salvador Allende’s peaceful road to socialism, and the crushing U.S covert intervention to destabilize and bring down his democratically elected government. With the dire threat of authoritarianism escalating around the world, the history of the overthrow of the Chilean democracy and the advent of the Pinochet dictatorship could not be more relevant. How did the people of Chile build popular power? How did the United States intervene to assist Chilean reactionaries and establish the deadly military regime of General Pinochet? How did Chileans rebuild a resistance movement to bring down that dictatorship? And what role did global solidarity play? The documents and the artwork that recorded and inspired this dramatic history will be part of an evolving series of gallery exhibitions on Chile from May through October.
Image: Ya No Basta Con Rezar Vicente Larrea, Luis Albornoz Quimantú Offset, Circa 1973
Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics
Richard Berg is the Past President of Teamsters Local 743 where he was an activist in the Teamster reform movement for more than 20 years before being elected president. He was a member and union steward for the Teamsters while working in the Department of Environmental Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He has also worked as an Organizer for AFSCME, as a Business Agent for the Teamsters, as a Union Representative for SEIU Local 73 and a Staff Representative for AFSCME Council 31. He was also previously the Treasurer of the Chicago Area Labor Support Committee, Executive Board Member of the Chicago Chapter of the Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement, International Steering Committee Member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, 30th Ward Coordinator for Harold Washington for Mayor in 1987, Staff for James Exum for 48th Ward Democratic Committeeman, Steering Committee Member of the Illinois Chapter of the Labor Party, Wisconsin Chair of the Midwest Coalition Against Registration and the Draft, Co-Chair of the Marquette University Coalition for Divestiture and President of the Marquette University Progressive Student Organization . Richard is currently working for the Chicago Teachers Union and serves on the Steering Committee for the Chicago Labor Speakers Club. He also enjoys fine art whenever possible.
Paul Durica is a teacher, writer, and public historian. Since 2008 he has been producing a series of free and interactive public history programs under the name Pocket Guide to Hell. These talks, walks, and reenactments use costumes, props, music, and audience participation to make the past feel present.Paul’s writing on Chicago history and culture has appeared in Poetry, The Chicagoan, Mash Tun, Lumpen, and elsewhere and, with Bill Savage, he is the editor of Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America (Northwestern UP, 2013). He is currently the Director of Programs for Illinois Humanities.
Ruth Needleman, professor emerita in Labor Studies at Indiana University, has taught labor and Latin American studies since the late sixties. After 4 years in Latin American Literature & Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, she worked for the United Farm Workers under Cesar Chavez.
Ruth has been awarded honors for excellence in teaching, research and service, for her work, including a book, Black Freedom Fighters in Steel: the struggle for union democracy, and many articles on black history, race, class and gender, leadership development and on movements in Latin America. She contributed to a book on the right-wing in Chile, published by Quimantu, Allende’s publishing house, prior to the fascist coup. She has traveled extensively, presented in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Japan, Colombia and more.
She pioneered courses in Labor & the Arts at IU, and established a 15-year college-degree program called Swingshift College, enabling steelworkers to complete college degrees in a customized worker program based on transformational pedagogy. Currently she is writing about this program and the role and character of “pedagogy for liberation” for the 21st century. She is also teaching a course on global social movements at the School of the Arts Institute.
Monica Trinidad is a queer artist and organizer, born and raised on the southeast side of Chicago. She is the co-founder of Brown and Proud Press, For the People Artists Collective, and the People's Response Team, and co-host of the Lit Review podcast. Monica actively pushes for spaces where both artists and organizers recognize the necessity of cultural organizing, and creates digital and watercolor illustrations to uplift and document struggles for justice in Chicago. Monica's work is currently in permanent collection at the DuSable Museum, and has been shown at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Hull-House Museum, Sullivan Galleries, and Hairpin Arts Center.
Peter Kuttner, has worked in mainstream and alternative media in Chicago for over 50 years.
Since leaving a staff job in public television in 1967, he has worked on documentary films about social justice to complement his political activism and community organizing.
As a Chicago member of the radical national film collective Newsreel in the late 60s, then as a founding member of Rising Up Angry, the Chicago Rainbow Coalition newspaper and organization. then with Kartemquin Films since 1972, and now at the Community TV Network since 2014, he has continued to work on projects addressing possible solutions to the complex issues facing America’s poor and working people.
A labor union member since 1975, Kuttner worked as a camera technician in the motion pictures and TV industry. Having served many terms as an elected representative on IATSE Local 600’s governing board, he now moderates an online rank-and-file forum dealing with union issues. He is a member of the Workers Rights Board of Jobs with Justice Chicago, a coalition of labor, faith, and community organizations. He curates public programs of documentary and fiction films dealing with social justice issues, with the [In]Justice for All Film Festival, Black Cinema House at the Stony Island Arts Bank, HotHouse and South Side Projections among others.
John Pitman Weber is active in community based public art, having co-founded the Chicago Public Art Group almost 45 years ago. His public works in mosaic, paint, cement, and brick are currently found in Chicago, New York City, Minneapolis, Vitoria-Gasteiz, (Spain), Spencer, IA and libraries of Broward Cty, FL. He is also active in the studio with painting and woodcuts. One of his large woodcuts is currently included in the Gulf Labor Coalition’s presence at the Venice Biennale. He is emeritus, retired from Elmhurst College. His home-studio is in Pilsen.
Larry Redmond: I've always had an interest in art. As a child, I used to draw comic book characters. When I entered college, I had hoped to major in art. However, at the time UIC didn't have an art department.
Now, I express myself visually through photography. I love photographing life in the street, especially marches and demonstrations. But my interest is expanding to fine art photography. I hope to do portraits and still lifes within the next year or so.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I majored in Philosophy and minored in English. I later attended the John Marshall Law School, earning a Juris Doctor degree. I studied art and photography at Chicago State University where I developed my passion for Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.
I have recently become a member of the Chicago Alliance of African-American Photographers because I appreciated the organization's dedication of professionalism and excellence in the practice of the art of photography. I am also a member of the Washington Park Camera Club. I currently live in Chicago with my wife and family.
Kathy Steichen co-founded Uri-Eichen Gallery with her husband, Christopher Urias, in 2011. She has led the programming development and coordination of hundreds of visual art and community events at the gallery in the last 11 years. She built an organization that brings thousands of people into the space to enjoy art, music and participate in discussions on social justice themes. She founded Amnesty International chapters in three colleges, worked for Amnesty International in the Mid-west Region and for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s first primary run. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and UMASS Amherst. She has worked in the labor movement for more than twenty four years. She has been a practicing print-maker for 30 years
Christopher Urias co-founded Uri-Eichen Gallery. He is a Pilsen, Chicago native who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.