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Virtual Artist Talk: Sungjae Lee & Sass Popoli

Virtual talk with Kala Fellowship Artists Sass Popoli and Sungjae Lee, where they’ll share their creative practice on September 9th at 12:00 PM on Zoom in connection with the Dig and Rise exhibition.

RSVP HERE: tickets and zoom link

Zoom/ Virtual Artist Talk + Q&A

Saturday, September 9, noon-1 pm

Participating Artists:

Sungjae Lee  is a Seoul-born, Chicago-based artist who works in performance, installation, text, and video. Throughout his time in the US, his practice has centered on the need for visibility and representation of queer Asians in a Western context. For the exhibition Sungiae created a site specific installation with monumental drapes with head hair samples he collected as a self-taught hairdresser. This project comments on the hidden labor by Asian immigrants in the service industry in the US. The act of haircutting is intimate and personal, but it is also politically charged. Reflecting on interactions with clients, Sungiae preserved hair samples in a plastic sheet commonly used at dry cleaners, and added a note about related memories and each encounter. These plastic panels are weaved and displayed according to the customer’s race.

Sass Popoli is a multidisciplinary artist living in the UK and Iran. Sass’s creative practice positions around worldbuilding with others. Exploring the field between nonfiction and fiction, their work investigates themes of displacement and belonging. For the exhibition, Sass presents a chapbook with an animation combining the poems written by Sass, and the letters and drawings that their mother and grandmother sent to them. For the poems and other writings both in the book and animation, Sass created letters and glyphs from their memory and also from the photos of wall writings collected during the Jina revolution. Together, the chapbook and the animation are familial inventions in Azari, Farsi, and English, representing Sass’s home  where they feel safe and a sense of belonging.

About the Exhibition:

Dig and Rise celebrates diverse voices and research, with a focus on resilience and hope that each artist in the exhibition carries and amplifies through their projects. While thinking about the work and title of the exhibition, many powerful poets and musicians came to my mind. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, A Center by Ha Jin and music by Miles Davis are just a few  examples of work that empowers audiences through creativity, message, passion and resilience. Art – poetry, music, writing, visual art, moving images, and in many other formats – can create significant ripple effects calling attention to important issues and inviting audiences to take action. Artists in Dig and Rise search for their deep roots – looking for core values in relation to their family lineage and cultural backgrounds. The projects are connected in a variety of ways. Many of the works in the exhibition bring up the systemic discriminations buried in our society, and call for changes and solidarity.  Others search for a sense of belonging and freedom, exploring their unique identities, family histories, foreignness, and intimate connection and/or isolation felt in their communities. They also investigate the role of rituals and memories in healing, human connection to the land and environment, and ancestral wisdom and stories that hold meanings in families and communities. Together their projects enforce one another to raise powerful questions and empower us through imagination, hope, resilience, and empathy.


Event Details

Date: September 9, 2023

Time: 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Online / Virtual