Gallery 400: On UIC campus at 400 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607
“Through My Lens: Justin Cooper” chronicles the artist’s wanderings and engagements with various accessible and inaccessible sites in Chicago’s neighborhoods and beaches. A wheelchair user, Cooper employs photography as an evidentiary tool that addresses issues of access during the COVID-19 pandemic. This streetside exhibition brings attention to the ways disability is defined by societal, environmental, social and physical barriers that restrict leisure and quality life for people with mobility impairments. With the exhibition’s locale, Gallery 400’s windows on Van Buren, Cooper’s images invoke viewers to consider their lived experiences in navigating a world that privileges normalcy and able-bodied-ness. “Through My Lens” is presented in conjunction with Crip*.
Justin Cooper is a Black visual artist and disability advocate who has been working professionally in art and film professionally since 2012. The lack of media representation amongst people with disabilities motivated him to work on his own documentary film called “The Wheelchair Chronicles.” Cooper is the president of Access Living’s Young Professionals Council, the head marshal of the annual Chicago Disability Pride Parade, and does advocacy work for Advance Your Leadership Power (racial/social justice advocacy group at Access Living) and the Chicago Disability Activism Collective. Cooper is a 2020-21 Junior Artist In Residence with the Disability Culture Activism Lab in conjunction with Access Living and was a 2021 3Arts/Bodies of Work Residency Fellow.