Back to All Events

"Through the Lens" Workshop with Tonika Johnson: On the Potential of Black women’s Self-Portraiture to Reclaim Narratives of Black life


"Through the Lens" Workshop with Tonika Johnson
Friday, March 29th, 6-8PM
Free, registration required

From newspaper covers to Instagram snapshots, images have the potential to shape and transform narratives. Join us for a discussion led by artist Tonika Johnson on the potential of Black women’s self-portraiture to reclaim narratives of Black life. Bring objects or clothes with significance to you to photograph in a self-portraiture and storytelling workshop.

This event is a part of the In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens series curated by Kanyinsola Anifowoshe, a Whitney Young high school senior. The series will culminate with an exhibition of participant projects and panel discussion with the workshop leaders, each a leading Black female artist in Chicago.

Childcare will be provided!

Register on Eventbrite here! FB event page here.

front 1-28.png

Inspired by Alice Walker’s writing, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens is a series of programs exploring Black women’s intergenerational and unconventional creative energies through conversation and creative work.

"What did it mean for a Black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers' time? In our great-grandmothers' day? It is a question with an answer cruel enough to stop the blood." 

- Alice Walker, 1974

The series includes workshops redefining connections between creative work and resistance to oppression, exploring the relationship between Black women and the archive, and creating monuments to our creative lineages; concluding with an exhibit of work created by workshop participants and teaching artists.  @insearchofourmothersgardens

Tonika Johnson is a visual artist/photographer from Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood. She was featured in Chicago Magazine as a 2017 Chicagoan of the Year for her photography of Englewood's everyday beauty, countering its pervasive media coverage of poverty and crime. Her "Everyday Englewood," photography was exhibited at Loyola University's Museum of Art (LUMA) earlier this year. Her current project, Folded Map, visually investigates disparities among Chicago residents while bringing them together to have a conversation, was also exhibited at LUMA this year from July-October.

Kanyinsola Anifowoshe is a 17 year old Nigerian-American who is a senior at Whitney Young high school. She is excited about inclusivity and accessibility in the art world, creating space for marginalized voices, and the transformative potential of young people.

She is editor-in-chief of Wahala Zine, a platform for the creative work of young people in the Nigerian diaspora, and host of The Now podcast where she interviews young creatives. She is also a co-organizer with Fempowerment Chicago and Youth for Black Lives, organizations intended to amplify the power of young people within activism.

She shares special thanks to Wisdom Baty for guidance and support on the project <3