News / Chicago

Announcing the 2018 Chicago Artadia Awardees

Artadia is pleased to announce the Awardees for the 2018 Chicago Artadia Awards: Leonard Suryajaya and Derrick Woods-Morrow. As the 2018 Chicago Artadia Awardees, Suryajaya and Woods-Morrow will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds as well as access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program. Additionally, Artadia’s booth at EXPO CHICAGO will feature original artwork by the two Awardees.

In the first round of jurying, Darby English, Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History, Modern and Contemporary Art, Cultural Studies, UChicago; Adjunct Curator, the Museum of Modern Art; Courtenay Finn, Curator, Aspen Art Museum; and Jamie Isenstein, artist, selected five Finalists: Bethany Collins, Daniel Eisenberg, Brendan Fernandes, Leonard Suryajaya, and Derrick Woods-Murrow. Jordan Carter, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, joined English for the second round of evaluations. The jurors conducted studio visits with the five Finalists to determine the Awardees.

Of each artists’ practice, Carter noted: “Derrick Woods-Morrow poetically gives form to childhood memories, fleeting sexual encounters, and transitory leisure spaces such as beaches and coastlines. Most recently, Woods-Morrow salvaged hundreds of discarded bricks that once formed the foundation of the Washington Memorial in Chicago and began displaying them in stacks and piles in the lineage of Minimalism and Postminimalism. But as in much of his work, a highly personal and intimate dimension was also infused into the project, as the bricks are coated and fired with “stolen” sand from Fire Island, a site of gay tourism where the artist has openly engaged in noncommittal sexual activity—imbuing the brick and mortar foundations of a monument steeped in colonialism with the transitory materiality of sand and the moment of climax.

Leonard Suryajaya blends photography and interior décor to investigate issues of personal identity, sexuality, and cultural belonging and displacement. His photographic portraiture casts his subjects—often relatives—in performative scenes of the everyday, often amongst vibrantly patterned wallpapers and commercial props with indiscernible cultural origins. The use of kitsch and pattern-obliterated interiors, both in his photographs and related installations, treats décor as a form of distributed critique. Suryajaya employs decorative strategies to connect the worlds in and outside of his photographs and stage mise- en-scènes, in which the viewer becomes a protagonist in an unfolding drama where the boundaries between the private and the public, the frivolous and the political, the authentic and the imitation, and the celebrated and the abject are continuously renegotiated.”

English continued: “In his layered multidisciplinary practice, Leonard Suryajaya moves boldly across what appear to be insurmountable differences in the direction of reconciliation and understanding. Refined and excellently crafted, his images, objects, and environments affirm every bit as much as they challenge. Derrick Woods-Morrow makes art that creatively modifies relations of power. His recent work combines elements of sexuality and interracial affinity as well as poetic engagements with questions about how the things and beings of the world change as they move—and are moved.”

This is Artadia’s ninth Award cycle in Chicago providing unrestricted Awards to artists in the city. Applications for the Awards were open to any visual artist living in Chicago for over two years, working in all media, and at any stage of their career. Artadia is a national non- profit organization that supports artists with unrestricted, merit-based Awards followed by a lifetime of program opportunities. Artadia is unique in that it allows any artist to apply, engages nationally recognized artists and curators to review work, and culminates in direct grants. Since 1999, Artadia has awarded over $3 million to more than 320 artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

The 2018 Chicago Artadia Awards are generously supported by Chicago Artadia Council members, Artadia’s Board of Directors, and individual donors across the country.


Leonard Suryajaya, Two Bodies, 2017, Archival Inkjet Print, 40 x 50 inches. Derrick Woods-Morrow, Untitled (from the Bags series and the FIAR archives), 2018, archival pigment print, 24 x 18 inches