gzintrview1.jpg

Hi.

My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

Folded Map Project Continues to Evolve

Folded Map Project Continues to Evolve

WDCB’s Gary Zidek catches up with photographer Tonika Johnson to talk about Folded Map project and it’s next iteration on stage.

LISTEN

“I would see the gradient of change from Englewood to Lane Tech, also realizing these streets are the same. And what I’ve learned (more about) is disinvestment (in Englewood) compared to the neighborhood Lane Tech was in.  It just stuck with me, I just always thought of photographing it.” - Tonika Johnson talking about the origins of what turned into the Folded Map project.

Tonika Johnson talking with WDCB’s Gary Zidek

Tonika Johnson talking with WDCB’s Gary Zidek

What started as an idea to highlight the inequalities that exist among Chicago neighborhoods on the north and south sides of the city, continues to grow and evolve. Photographer Tonika Johnson’s awareness of the differences in neighborhoods can be traced back to her high school years, when while living in the Englewood neighborhood she commuted every day to Lane Tech College Prep High School in the Lake View neighborhood. As an adult, Johnson began working on a photography project that would illuminate those disparities.

Ashland Avenue south side compared to north side

Ashland Avenue south side compared to north side

Johnson’s project began to evolve as she began to talk with some of the residents in the neighborhoods she was photographing. She came up with the idea of matching people from the north and south sides, calling them “map twins”.

Edgewater resident Wade, sitting with his Folded Map twin Nanette on her porch in the Englewood community. Courtesy of Tonika Lewis Johnson.

Edgewater resident Wade, sitting with his Folded Map twin Nanette on her porch in the Englewood community. Courtesy of Tonika Lewis Johnson.

Johnson’s photography concept expanded to become a multi-media project. Her work began to garner media attention, in 2017 Johnson was named a “Chicagoan of the Year” by Chicago Magazine.

Johnson’s work was then exhibited. The Folded Map exhibition was on display at the Loyola University Museum of Art July 3 - October 20, 2019.

Folded Map Project participants Carmen Arnold-Stratton (right) of the 5600 block of S. Winchester in Englewood, and Brighid O’Shaughnessy (left) of the 6500 block of N. Winchester in Rogers Park embrace after their first visit in Arnold-Stratton’s Englewood community. Courtesy of Tonika Lewis Johnson.

Folded Map Project participants Carmen Arnold-Stratton (right) of the 5600 block of S. Winchester in Englewood, and Brighid O’Shaughnessy (left) of the 6500 block of N. Winchester in Rogers Park embrace after their first visit in Arnold-Stratton’s Englewood community. Courtesy of Tonika Lewis Johnson.

In October of 2018, Johnson was approached by Collaboraction Theatre Company with an idea to turn her Folded Map project into a work of theatre. Johnson consulted with one of her “map twins”, Brighid O’Shaughnessy, who has a background in Chicago’s theatre community. And the ball began rolling again …

Brighid O’Shaughnessy. co-deviser and co-director of Folded Map the play

Brighid O’Shaughnessy. co-deviser and co-director of Folded Map the play

O’Shaughnessy began working with Johnson and others on a devised script and Folded Map the play was born. O’Shaughnessy is co-directing it with Penelope Walker. The play will make its world premiere as part of Collaboraction’s annual winter festival, ENCOUNTER.

PSX_20190114_160050.jpg

Johnson says the stage adaptation is able to touch on things that weren’t necessarily addressed int the exhibition portion of Folded Map. Audiences can see the play, Friday January 18, Wednesday January 23 and Saturday January 26.

And Johnson is already working on a next evolution of Folded Map, this time she wants to focus on Chicago’s west side.

Check out collaboraction.org for more information about the upcoming ENCOUNTER series, January 15 - 27.

And go to tonijphotography.com to stay up to date on what Tonika is working on.

The Dueling Critics Review Steppenwolf's LA RUTA

The Dueling Critics Review Steppenwolf's LA RUTA

Theatre Review: The Second City's New Mainstage Revue

Theatre Review: The Second City's New Mainstage Revue