Uma Kamat, Back Mender, Pine, vegan Leather, foam, 2021

November 13th, 2021 – February 11th, 2022

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 13th, 2021 at 5:30 PM. Free and open to the public. RSVP required

BODIES II: SAIC Intro to Designed Objects

Students in Megan Euker’s Intro to Designed Objects classes (Fall 2019 – Fall 2020) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago created works in response to a single word prompt: “Bodies.” Using the collections at the International Museum of Surgical Science for inspiration, students began identifying medical or bodily constraints that could be alleviated through a specifically designed assistive device. Through a process of in-depth research and prototype testing, students created preliminary designs intended to increase accessibility, promote healthy behaviors, create comfort and improve safety. After consulting with medical professionals and undergoing critiques, they modified their ideas and remade their objects at full scale.

These designed objects create a social impact by making it easier for all kinds of bodies to move through the world. They also spark new questions: what mental and physical constraints do our bodies place on us all? What are the best uses of designed objects in the fields of health, medicine, and surgery? And how do you design your own environment to fit your day-to-day needs? Works in this exhibition explore these fundamental ideas of ability and the body.

Featuring work by Anushka Agarwal, Ran Brian Bi, Diamonde Diggs, Razana Djan, Uma Kamat, Sunhyung Kim, Cassie Kwon, Hei King Lai, Noah Taylor, Yunkai Kerry Xu

Razana Djan, IV Gloves, Cotton jersey, velcro, 2021
Anushka Agarwal, Refresh, Cherry wood, tiles, wire, acrylic, 2021
Diamonde Diggs, Practical Spiritual Health (& the maintenance of essence), Magnets, paint, cardboard, 2021

Anushka Agarwal (B. 2001, Mumbai, India)is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts, with a focus on Designed Objects and Visual Communication, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her practice focuses on creating user centered objects which alternate between functional objects and conversation starters. A lot of her ideas stem from the physical environment she observes and conversations with the people she meets.

RAN (BRIAN) BI (B. 2000, Nanjing, China) is a Product Designer, Photographer, GUNPLA Builder, and GK Figure Painter studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 2023). As an artist proficient in product design with experience in logos, web design, graphic design, and photography, Brian values simplicity and is inspired by Japanese designers such as Naoto Fukasawa and Ogawara Kuino. He is currently focusing on digital modeling, 3D printing, and digital communications design

Diamonde Diggs (B. 2001, Queens, NY, USA) is an artist and designer who is currently pursuing her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work explores the relationship between the self, the world, and the implementation/practicality of change. By working with the themes of community, genuity, and childlike curiosity, she seeks to help us understand and transform the way that we understand ourselves.

Razana Djan (B. 2000, Jakarta, Indonesia) is an emerging artist currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree focusing in Accessory Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work goes beyond traditional fine art mediums by incorporating them into wearable forms. Through her distinct style of experimenting with bright colors and quirky silhouettes, she hopes to provide joy and comfort to the audience.

Uma Kamat (B. 2000, Pennsylvania, USA) is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Industrial Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is usually inspired by experimental artists like the Campana Brothers and India Mahdavi who like to implement different materials to create unexpected textures. Her current practice revolves around 3D modelling, furniture design/making, and ceramics.

Sunhyung Kim (B. 1996, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea) received a Visual Arts Associate degree in Fine Arts from Northern Virginia Community College in 2020. After her Associates study, she transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She uses abstract, minimal, and geometric forms and designs throughout her works. Currently, she is taking a break to work and planning her own hand built ceramicware brand 

Cassie Kwon (B. 2000, Skokie, Illinois, USA) is focused on storytelling through watercolor illustrations and comics. Her work has themes of adolescence, existential crises, and mundanity. She will be pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Animation at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Hei King Lai (B. 2000, Honk Kong) is currently a 3rd year undergraduate, with a focus on Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her practice mostly focuses on user centered design. She is particularly interested in how the user interacts with the object and how an object could transform. Most of her ideas stem from observations and conversations with everyday objects.

Noah Taylor’s (B. 1999, Washington D.C., USA) work centers on examining and shifting perceptions. In design he reshapes and reorients overlooked relationships between humans and nature. Noah plays a lot with scale in his work, creating new building blocks from the smaller structures of life. Noah creates new products that speak to the importance of understanding the world around us on all of its levels. 

Yunkai Kerry Xu (B. 2000, Shenzhen, China) builds his interest in Product design from his young age. He is currently a 3rd year undergraduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Designed Objects department. He studied industrial design and digital modeling in the past two years. He is also interested in photography and animation recently. His works focus on geometric forms combined with Chinese elements.

Curated by Megan Euker

Megan Euker is the Project Manager at Errant Gene Therapeutics/San Rocco Therapeutics and is based in Tampa, Florida.

Euker has been represented by Linda Warren Projects in Chicago since 2008 and featured in The International Museum of Surgical Science; Matthew Rachman Gallery, Chicago; The University Club of Chicago; Chautauqua School of Art, New York; Prince Street Gallery, New York; The Storefront Project, New York; Togonon Gallery, San Francisco; College of DuPage, Illinois; Beverly Arts Center, Chicago; and Western Exhibitions, Chicago and other prestigious venues.

In 2017, at Casa Cava in Matera, Italy, a world heritage site, she, along with The Orphan Dream Band, presented the first Orphan Dream Award to Dr. Franco Locatelli. Her sculptures have appeared on Italian television including Canale 2 and TRM24. She presented subsequent Orphan Dream Awards to Dr. Michel Sadelain of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2018); Dr. John Tisdale of the National Institute of Health (2019); Dr. Aurelio Maggio of Ospedale Cervello, Palermo (2020); and Dr. Lucio Luzzatto of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied sciences (2021).

She has been the recipient of such honors as a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy; two Faculty Enrichment Grants from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; a Compassion and Belonging Grant from SAIC; the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. Grant; Change, Inc. Grant;. Artist Assistance Grant; two CAAP (Community Arts Assistance Program) and two DCASE grants. Euker received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to her work with the gene therapy company EGT/SRT, she is a Lecturer in the departments of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects and Continuing Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Adjunct Professor in Sculpture and Extended Media at the University of South Florida (USF).

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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