/ SANCTUARY /

This page includes text and access to audio descriptions of the art work in the exhibit. The order begins on the left side as you enter the gallery and follows the wall clockwise around the circumference of the room.

You may access the audio descriptions via Soundcloud here.

Additional text will be posted soon.

Welcome to / SANCTUARY /

In today’s culture of increased hostility and explicit violence toward differently marginalized and targeted communities, where is the refuge for sex workers, undocumented people, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, women, people with disabilities, queer and trans folx, the poor, people formerly incarcerated, and those experiencing homelessness?

Look around. You’ll see a range of responses to this question. The artists featured in this exhibit are finding sanctuary with themselves, through fierce community organizing, as an ongoing process, in the sweetness of collaboration, as a result of complex negotiations, and more.

What is your image and experience of sanctuary?

How will you bring that fully into the world?

This is an excerpt from the website of Sex Workers Outreach Project –Chicago:

Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago [SWOP-Chicago] is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of current and former sex workers in the Chicago area, on and off of the job. SWOP-Chicago is composed of current and former sex workers — including prostitutes, professional dominants, porn actors, strippers, and sex educators — and our academic and activist allies, working together to ensure that sex workers are allowed healthy and fulfilling labor and lives. We represent a diverse range of experience and background, and have no tolerance for discrimination based on race, gender, or class within our ranks. As we consider every human life of equal worth, we work to eliminate discriminatory hierarchies evident among sex workers as well as within society at large.

We support the right of all individuals to freely choose their work. We oppose trafficking and coercive labor of all kinds, from forced prostitution to unpaid migrant agricultural work. Coercive and forced labor is correlated with discriminatory immigration policy, the international dearth of living-wage jobs, the subjugation of women, and the criminalization, which forces the sex industry underground. When the work we perform is criminalized and stigmatized, we are denied the dignity and safety that are the inherent rights of every human. We stand with our allies in the labor, feminist, queer, and civil rights movements in demanding an equal society, in which no person or group of people is demeaned, demoralized, victimized, or otherwise harmed by other individuals or the state.

Final Notes on the Exhibit.

This exhibit is one result of an ongoing collaboration between the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project – Chicago. We have been working together for nearly two years to raise awareness, distribute resources, and connect in community. This exhibit centers the work of people who identify as sex workers while including other artists responding to the theme.

To enhance everyone’s experience as well as increase accessibility and cultural inclusivity for those who are blind or have low vision, we have audio descriptions available on this website and large print handouts at the gallery.

Megan Carney, Tyler Dean Hamlin and Jonathan Kelly curated this exhibit. Jonathan Kelly and liz thomson collaborated with the artists in writing the descriptive text and voicing the text. Alyssa Hozian provided research and design support. SWOP-Chicago provided essential outreach and expertise.

Thank you for visiting.