Artist Candace Hunter Receives Prestigious 3Arts Award

published: Oct. 6, 2016

Chicago Defenders Arts  & Culture Editor Candace Hunter is Awarded the Prestigious 3Arts Award

By Kai EL´ Zabar

Candace Hunter, artist and Chicago Defender’s own Arts & Culture Editor has been busy creating art, exhibiting art, talking about are and being recognized for her work.

The journey began after she had just been offered a solo show in Milwaukee when she received the Pfister Hotel presents the winner of the Popular Vote for the 2016 Artist in Residence program earlier this year. And then there was her recent show,

“SO    BE   IT.   SEE   TO    IT” was exhibited at Gallerie M, in the Intercontinental Hotel, Milwaukee, WI, August 14 through September 27, 2016 . The solo show consisted of 53 pieces of work celebrating the books, Patternmaster, Kindred, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Fledgling and the XenogenesisTrilogy.

Candace Hunter’s SO BE IT. SEE TO IT. Visual renderings of the works/words of Octavia E. Butler is an undertaking of love and creative expression as a translator and interpreter. She transformed the brilliant written works of art and vision into images that boggle the mind with the unique way of thinking that manifested in Octavia Butler’s mind and landed on paper. Candace took those words that paint images in our minds and put them to paper as visual renderings in the collage genre. The result is amazing — colorful, richly layered and textured.

Candace cites, that upon seeing a post from the Huntington Library of the private journals of Butler and her continued written affirmation, “So be it. See to it,” I immediately began work on visually translating the works of the foremost speculative fiction writer through my medium of choice, collage.” She continues, “Octavia’s hand-written notes, her affirmations – these precious hand written notes – appealed to me as much as her finely crafted books.  It was as if they were a personal directive to me, So be it. See to it. And the work began. The work is all collage for collage is the medium for storytelling.  It is my way of honoring this American story-teller.”

For those familiar with Octavia Butler’s volume of work the idea that someone could so totally get her is something to ponder because the writer had such a different way of seeing things and like her Candace brings an eye to her work that’s entrenched in history, culture, pride and skill. Those who know Candace’s work know her brilliance — great intelligence and talent. And if you’re familiar with both you can see the relationship of kith and kin shared by these two as if members of the same spirit tribe. How else can Candace capture so seamlessly Butler’s stories in a genre that takes ownership of the visual created by the writer who leaves that up to the reader’s imagination and nail it?

This is not the first time Octavia Butler was her muse. Only a few years ago, Candace received an invitation from novelist, Tananarive Due, to use her collage, “Octaviascape” as the banner art for Spelman College’s first Octavia conference, “Black to the Future: The Octavia E. Butler Celebration”

Candace is the artist’s artist. Her creativity brings to mind a conversation I had years ago with another accomplished Chicago artist, who was in my home eyeing a pair of Benin head pencil drawings by Candace. The work was exquisite requiring an eye that was precise and capable of producing fine lines that from which emerged a complete image. The artist asked me in awe, “Whose the artist?” as he studied the works. He continued, “Wow, she has a different way of seeing things, different than most. All artists see life differently and yet this artist’s work is different inside of different.”

The exhibition closed but Candace is optimistic hopes So be it. See to it will find a space in Chicago to reveal and share itself with Chicago’s art community especially as we celebrate Artist Month in Chicago.

Candace is rolling in accolades . . . her time has come and in time for her birthday just celebrated.  On Monday October 3, Candace was awarded a $25,000 unrestricted grant as an awardee of the 2016 3Arts Awards, presented in a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

The best part about the recognition is that finally others other than those who know her, and collect her art have and will continue to be introduced and exposed to her work and discover the range of her talent, which expands beyond the collage work described here. And maybe they will join those privy to own her original work.

Each year 3Arts Awards ten Chicago artists (women artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts) receive an unrestricted $25,000 award to put to use according to their individual needs and priorities.

3Arts, a nonprofit grantmaking organization based in Chicago, presents awards annually to women artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities working in dance, music, theater, visual arts or teaching arts. Each awardee receives an unrestricted grant of $25,000.

The 2016 recipients are: dancer/choreographers Barak adé Soleil and Ayako Kato; singer/songwriter Jess Godwin and improvisational cellist Tomeka Reid; teaching artists Alexandria Eregbu and William Estrada; theater maker Jo Cattell and director Maggie Popadiak; and visual artists Candace Hunter and Aram Han Sifuentes. 3Arts Awardees each receive an unrestricted $25,000 award to put to use according to their individual needs and priorities.

To date, the Chicago-based, nonprofit granting organization 3Arts has awarded over $2 million in total to nearly 400 Chicago artists in the past nine years.

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