This year, One Two Pru has partnered with Bronzeville’s renowned Gallery Guichard to present African Diaspora: Chicago, a lobby exhibit that tells underrepresented narratives of Chicago’s robust diasporic history, from our city’s rich music culture to our journey through an isolating pandemic. The groundbreaking exhibition places the work of local diasporic artists right into the foot traffic of the public and onto the radar of corporate and private collectors. The exhibition marks an exciting step in the art world, as blending art exposure with civic reopening has not only heightened the public consciousness towards multicultural art, but has also further folded multicultural creators into the collecting community.
Behind the exhibition’s curation is Gallery Guichard — a gallery in the Bronzeville Art District dedicated to elevating the artistic voices of artists of color. Through curated exhibitions, experiential events, art tours and — during the pandemic — Virtual Exhibition Catalogues (VEC), the gallery gives both emerging underrepresented talent and mid-career artists a platform to develop and showcase their bodies of work. Gallery Guichard’s owner Andre Guichard spent 27 years as a practicing artist and both he and his wife Frances spent a decade curating for different exhibitions — this was how Gallery Guichard’s awe-inspiring network of emerging global artists came together. The gallery showcases work from talents such as Abiola Akintola, Stephen ‘Sayo Olalekan, Pearlie Taylor, Marlene Campbell and many others.
Bringing Gallery Guichard’s network of multicultural talents to the lobby of Chicago’s landmark address means more than just public exposure for smaller names in the art scene — it’s a public reminder of the importance of the narratives and histories that we tell, and putting forth stories that are hybrid, multi-linear and nuanced. Placing multi-cultural art at the center of reopening Chicago privileges new types of artistic narratives that are true to the complexity of our country’s multicultural communities.
Beyond serving the public, this exhibition also crucially links critically important and visually impressive artists to the collecting community, as two mixed media paintings have already sold from African Diaspora: Chicago.
Promoting the modern diasporic generation artists to both laypeople and avid collectors is a privilege and mission is that is important to One Two Pru, and it’s a part of a larger future that raises our societal investment in vulnerable raw art that truly honors the multiplicity of identity that our country has been built on.