50 Years of Movement Art: Ricardo Levins Morales opens his first exhibit

Print More

Ricardo Levins Morales’ new exhibit, Another World is Possible: Five Decades of Revolutionary Art with Ricardo Levins Morales, lines the walls of the El Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) office on Chicago Ave. Each wall highlights a decade from 1969-2019, and the movements therein: climate and land movements after Hurricane Katrina, the labor movement, the movement to save General College, prison justice, and dozens of others. 

“All the pieces on the walls are like portals for the spirits of different activist eras to enter the room, mingling and talking with each other and the viewers,” said Levins Morales, a Puerto Rican-born organizer, healer, and artist. 

The exhibit is made up of hundreds of pieces of art created by Levins Morales via his movement work. One thing you will not find, however, is Levins Morales’ first flier. 

“The first flier I ever made was for a fundraiser for the Chicago chapter of the Black Party Party, which was a pig roast. I really wish I had that flier. I don’t. I remember roughly what it looked like. The first time one of my drawings was used for something.” said Levins Morales. “I didn’t enter the movement as an artist, I entered as a kid, doing all the things that you do, the mundane things you do to run a movement.”

The exhibit opened Oct. 5 and was attended by nearly 200 community members. Musicians Marcus Carr and Jayanthi led participants and Levins Morales’ daughter Olivia Levins Holden also spoke. 

“My papi grew up as an artist. It’s one of the ways he processes the world. There’s nothing professionally-trained about learning that. It’s one of the languages that he uses to express his experience of the world,” said Levins Holden. “ Life and art and him have evolved together, and through his life and his work, he has been able to provide a mirror, and he’s been able to be a healer, and we see that through his life and his presence in our communities.” 

In many ways the exhibit spoke to Levins Morales’ movement experiences and his understanding of social movement and the movements that make up that greater fight against oppression and for liberation. 

“All of these movements were youth-led movements, in every decade, every time, and I would really love to create a space in which the 15-year olds of 1982 could sit down with the 15-year olds of 2019 and talk to each other,” said Levins Mireles. “We were just kids trying to figure shit out and a lot of the work was boring and some of it was brilliant and some of it touched pivotal moments in history with the right needle at the right pressure point.” 

Another World is Possible: Five Decades of Revolutionary Art with Ricardo Levins Morales is open until Nov. 22 at 3715 Chicago Ave. The exhibit hours are Mon.-Wed. and Fridays. from 9am-5pm; Thurs. from 9am-8pm; and Sat. from 11am-3pm; the exhibit is closed on Sundays. For more information on Levins Morales and the exhibit you can check out: https://www.rlmartstudio.com/exhibit/

Comments are closed.