Petty Biennial.2 | NYCH Gallery

Exhibiting  January 10, 2020 - February 7


The Petty Biennial.2 is a multi-site project on view at three locations in Chicago from November 7th, 2019 - February 14th, 2020. Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College serves as the project’s anchor site, with two satellite locations at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park and NYCH Gallery in Pilsen. 


Expanding on the first iteration of Petty Biennial, The Petty Biennial.2 seeks to challenge and reimagine dominant biennial culture by centering multiple cultural diasporas as a nexus of local exchange and dialogue for marginalized and queer communities. Unsettling the notion of diasporic communities as a dispersion of ethnicities across the globe, participating artists understand diaspora as a network and community of people across races, geographies, and ethnicities who are impacted and connected through the legacies of colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. This connective tissue of social systems represents the efforts of people of color to find each other and ourselves, a constant struggle to free our mind, body, and soul from inherited violence and oppression.


Artists at NYCH Gallery elaborate on the multifacetedness of the term “diaspora”. Through their varied media and disciplines, each articulates their own experience with the phenomenon—having brushed up against diaspora, being the product of it, or redefining what it means on a deeply personal level. Through this iteration of the Petty Biennial.2, diaspora has been reframed as a thread that binds people affected by the often-insidious systems that act upon marginalized communities. The final exhibition celebrates the incredible strength and resilience of diasporic peoples and makes this legible through the practices of the artists featured here.  


Co-founded in 2016, by La Keisha Leek and Sadie Woods, The Petty Biennial is not a biennial itself, but a curatorial investigation towards queering the canon of traditional biennials. The Petty Biennial engages with pettiness as an act of seizing agency within the telling of one’s own story where one asserts themselves unapologetically and finds solidarity from a community of peers. 


Participating Artists: Carlos Barberena de la Rocha, Liz Gomez, Jennifer Ligaya, Damon Locks, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, and Yasmin Spiro

Curated by Courtney Cintrón, Sabrina Greig, and Adia Sykes.

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