Menu

Reflecting our (Global) South Side

Reflecting our (Global) South Side, a project by Matri-Archi(tecture), offers a space to house everyday interactions and to explore how occupation and reflection can facilitate learning about other cultures. By drawing comparisons between Matri-Archi’s African references and Chicago’s South Side, the installation encourages visitors to explore links between everyday spatial practices that align local communities with those in Sub-Saharan Africa through an emphasis on the role of design.

During fall 2021, Chicago poets Tara Betts, M’Reld Green, Leslé Honoré, and Ciara Darnise Miller created new work in response to their interactions with the site specific installation. Join for a conversation as they discuss the process of creating this work, while Matri-Archi reflects upon their practice and the development of Reflecting our (Global) South Side.

--

Matri-Archi(tecture) is an intersectional collective that empowers African women as a network dedicated to African-built development and spatial education. They action their ethos through their research unit and forthcoming spatial education program, focusing on transformation in partnership with spatial practitioners. Through their projects, they contribute to a pool of knowledge that aims at catalyzing and fostering dialogue and a consciousness in spatiality across Global Southern geographies. Their work emphasizes more inclusive paths for ongoing processes of alteration, transformation, and diversity. This has manifested through different mediums and scales as well as across different channels. Notable projects include exhibiting at the Africa Summit in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland (2018); a collaborative photography documentary project with Nairobi Design Week in Nairobi, Kenya (2019); an ongoing research project on urban nomads in Johannesburg, South Africa (2019 -); and one of many guest lectures including a recent talk in the series arquiteturas do sul global at Escola da Cidade in São Paulo, Brazil (2020). Matri-Archi(tecture) is co-directed by Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo.

Dr. Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit, Arc & Hue, and Refuse to Disappear. In addition to working as an editor, a teaching artist, and a mentor for other writers, she has taught at several universities. She is the Inaugural Poet for the People Practitioner Fellow at University of Chicago and founder of Whirlwind Learning Center. Tara can be found on twitter at @tarabetts and on instagram at @chitownbetts. 

M’Reld Green’s favorite thing to do is write and perform poetry. She has been featured on HBO, Viceland, and TVOne displaying her gift of spoken word.  M’Reld Green cohosts the #WokeAndSexy podcast and teaches creative writing with youth. She also founded The Sandwich Ministry, a mutual aid nonprofit on Chicago’s South Side. She is finally finishing her first book entitled Way Deeper Than That.

Leslé Honoré is the author of Fist & Fire, a collection of powerful, unflinching poems that confront issues of social justice through the lenses of real people. Examples of poems that went viral on social media and expanded the reach of Leslé’s work internationally include pieces about the discriminatory treatment of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open women’s 2018 final, a tribute to Megan Markle's mother Doris Ragland, and "Brown Girl" for Vice President Kamala Harris. She has spoken and read her work at Obama Foundation, and was also a featured speaker at TEDx Grand Boulevard. She co-created the video-poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” with Elevated Chicago. Her children’s book, Brown Girl, will be released in 2022. Learn more about Leslé on Facebook and Instagram at @LesléHonoré, and on Twitter at @Lesle_honore.

Ciara Darnise Miller, a native of Chicago, holds both an MFA and MA in Poetry and African American/African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University. She also received her BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. She has published poems and academic essays in such collections and periodicals as The Whiskey of Our Discontent, Break Beat Poets, Mosaic, Fjords Review, African American Review, Callaloo, Muzzle, Alice Walker: Critical Insights, Chorus, and many more.  She currently lives in Chicago where she serves as an Afro-American Studies professor at Kennedy King College and the CEO of Miller’s Learning Center (MLC), a test prep and career-support company.

--

Chicago Architecture Biennial's InDialogue Series is supported by Hindman Auctions.

Hindman, an internationally recognized fine art auction house, offers its clients an unyielding focus on service and holistic solutions to connect to the global art market. Hindman conducts over 100 auctions annually in 52 collecting categories such as fine art, jewelry, modern design, books and manuscripts, furniture, native American art, decorative arts, antiquities, couture, and Asian works of art. Founded and headquartered in Chicago, Hindman is now represented in 13 cities in the United States and operates five salerooms, more than any other auction house in the country.

Installation view, "Reflecting our (Global) South Side", Matri-Archi(tecture), Chicago Architecture Biennial, 2021. Photo: Nathan Keay.