Monica J. Brown explores memory, history and personal mythology through visual art, sound, movement, writing and performance. Her visual art has been exhibited widely throughout Chicago, including the DuSable Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. She has also exhibited nationally and internationally including Juijiang University in China. She has created murals with Chicago's Hubbard Street Mural Project, and Detroit's Live6 Neighborhood Arts Project. She participated in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and presented her solo performance at Prop Theatre in Chicago and the Columbus Performing Arts Center in Ohio.
Monica is a Ucross fellow, and has attended residencies at Atlantic Center for the Arts, Ragdale, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, among others. She has received Individual Artist Program grants from Chicago DCASE, and Individual Artist Support grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. She is also a recipient of Columbia College's Albert P. Weisman Award. She earned a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles; and an MA from Columbia College Chicago. She currently resides in Chicago.
My current work is an exploration of memory, history and personal mythology. What does it mean to remember? Memory is an abstraction. It holds our entire history, but how much of that is our "real" story? And what stories do we tell ourselves about this story? Which stories do we own and which ones own us? What is the color, shape and perimeter of the space we take up inside our heads in navigating all that has made us who we are? How often does that vision/visual shift?
Our identity can be shaped by the mythology upon which we base our existence, and the subsequent labels we choose or are given. Moving through a familial mythology, I have been tracing my way back through my matrilineage, with an inquiry into discovering that which is gained and/or lost through generations of women, passed down from mother to daughter through genetic memory, bloodlines and dreamscapes. Through re/dis/covering their stories, I am reshaping my own.
I am interested in the ideas of genetic memory and generational healing through somatic archeology. Ruby Gibson, Th.D., author of My Body, My Earth describes somatic archeological as “unearthing in the human body those remains and artifacts of our familial, ancestral, and spiritual lineage in order to uncover our myths and remember our stories for personal and planetary evolution.” I believe that gathering the stories from the past, knowing them, and sharing them is a means to healing learned dysfunctional patterns as well as embracing inherited strengths and gifts.