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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Artists Nick Cave And Bob Faust Asking Neighbors To Fight Racism By Airing Their ‘Dirty Laundry’

Participants will write their thoughts on their privilege and personal commitments of change on yellow ribbons, which will be tied to a clothesline as part of an art project.

In June the first component of Amends was a collection of handwritten reflections from friends and acquaintances of the artists titled “Letters to the World Toward the Eradication of Racism.” These reflections were written on the windows of the Facility.
alex v. hernandez/block club chicago
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IRVING PARK — Artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust are asking neighbors to contribute to Amends, a community-based art project aimed at helping to eradicate systemic racism. 

Amends is a collection of artwork where neighbors from the city’s more privileged communities share how they have benefitted from structural racism, Faust said.

Cave and Faust are inviting neighbors to visit Carl Schurz Public High School, 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave., so they can add reflections and apologies. The event runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

“It was important to us to not just collect people’s amends but to have them sit with it and write it themselves. When you do personal work like this it takes time. Writing it out, you get a little deeper into it and it helps you think about how change can occur,” Faust said. 

Credit: alex v. hernandez/block club chicago
Amends is a collection of written self-reflections where people write out messages on how the city’s more privileged communities benefit from structural racism.

Participants will write their thoughts and personal commitments of change on yellow ribbons, which will be tied to a clothesline as part of the Dirty Laundry component of the Amends project.

In June, the first part of Amends was a collection of handwritten reflections from friends and acquaintances, called Letters to the World Toward the Eradication of Racism.

These reflections were written on the windows of the Facility, an Irving Park arts hub at 3618-3622 N. Milwaukee Ave. the artists opened in 2018.

RELATED: Artist Nick Cave Turning Vintage Irving Park Building Into Studio, Gallery

The idea for the Amends project came about after Faust and his daughter joined in a protest for the Black Lives Matter movement after a Minneapolis Police officer killed George Floyd.

“My daughter and I came back from the protest feeling super empowered and thinking things would change quickly. But that was our perspective due to white privilege,” Faust said. 

Cave wondered aloud if people will still be willing to fight against structural racism and talk about how they benefit from it months after Floyd’s death, Faust said. The Amends project began as a way to keep the conversation going. 

“Organizing marches and voting to change public policies to fight racism are important. But you also need to make it disappear from more personal places,” Faust said. “We hope this project can help dismantle the most surface layer of structural racism by having people talking about it at their kitchen table or workplace.”

Cave is best known for his soundsuits — wearable fabric sculptures that fully conceal the body and act as a second skin that obscures race, gender and class. 

The soundsuits “originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment,” according to Cave’s portfolio.

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