Blackness and Belonging from Cali to Chicago

Wednesday, September 29
4:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

This artist-led discussion seeks to foster dialogue about transnational experiences of Blackness, bridging perspectives across two multicultural cities: Chicago and Cali, Colombia. Carmenza Banguera’s exhibition The Visible, the Laughable, and the Invisible, on view at the Neubauer Collegium through October 1, explores tropes of Blackness and belonging, contemplating the transnational circulation of the idea of the resistant and invulnerable Black body. As the exhibition comes to a close, Banguera will join Chicago-based mixed media artist Lola Ayisha Ogbara to consider the artists’ shared concerns and the critiques of gendered and raced representations of the Black body they explore in their artistic practices. Guests will have the opportunity to view Banguera’s exhibition and to join in dialogue with the two artists. A reception, with music from DJ SoulPhonetics, will follow the discussion.

Please note: Much of the event will be held outdoors. Access to the indoor portion of the exhibition will be limited in accordance with University of Chicago COVID-19 guidelines. For those who are unable to attend in person, the event will be streamed live on YouTube.

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About the Artists


Carmenza Banguera is a visual artist based in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. She received a Masters in Plastic Arts from the Departmental Institute of Fine Arts in Cali. Her works have been included in various forums, such as the 45th Salón Nacional de Artistas and independent exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia. Her primary subject of exploration is Afro-Colombian and Afro-Latino identity, specifically approached from concepts like cliché, ethnicity, race, racism, and taboos such as resentment, paranoia, and victimization—phenomena of a social and historical nature. Banguera constructs her work from the observation of contexts and their contemporary behavior, thus abstracting the forms through which identity is assumed and showing how ethnic-social recognition crosses the borders of the merely cultural. Banguera uses multiple formal means to create her artworks. In recent years, her work has been characterized by the use of techniques such as sculpture, drawing, installation, and ready-mades, among others. Banguera is collaborating on the Contours of Black Citizenship in a Global Context research project as a Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow. 

Lola Ayisha Ogbara is a cultural worker and artist who was born and raised in Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University Sam Fox School of Art and Design. In 2017, Ogbara co-founded Artists in the Room, a collective of artists and scholars who host artists, emerging and well-known, in hopes of serving as a catalyst for artistic development and networking. Ogbara has also received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Multicultural Fellowship sponsored by the NCECA 52nd Annual Conference and the Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture Residency at the University of Chicago. Ogbara has exhibited in galleries across the country. She is currently based in Chicago.