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Soil as Story, Body, and Medium: An Interdisciplinary Adult Art Class

April 19, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, repeating until May 24, 2022

A photo collage: On the left is a photo of a rock that has a gradient of colors ranging from white, gray, orange to brown. On the top right there is a photo of instructor Abena in a field of grass. Abena is looking into the camera and wearing a yellow and black outfit. On the bottom right there is a photo of orange flowers in a container
Photo taken by Kristie Kahns for Sixty Inches from the center interview on Abena Motaboli, interviewed by Kyra Horton, 2022


Garfield Park Conservatory has teamed up with Teaching Artist, Abena Motaboli, to offer a 6-week hybrid interdisciplinary art class. Classes will take place both online via Zoom and in-person at Garfield Park Conservatory. See below for the full class schedule.

This class will be an exploration of earth as material. We will focus on soil exploration, soil testing, making pigment paint, and earth pigment paints. There will also be a creative writing component including journaling and thinking about our connection to our soils.

Participants will be encouraged to think more broadly about the soils we walk on as a world of transformation, and to think about their own connections to the soil through storytelling, journaling, making pigment paints, natural inks, and eco-dyeing using tannins and flowers.

Class available for ages 18+

Students will need access to email, a computer or other smart device and internet.

This course takes place on Tuesday’s from 6:00-8:00pm Central Time on the following dates:

April 19th – In person

April 26th – Online

May 3rd – In person

May 10th – In person

May 17th – Online

May 24th – In Person

Class Fee (materials included):

General Registration $250

GPCA Member/Volunteer $200

Scholarships applications are no longer being accepted.

Abena Motaboli is a Chicago-based educator, visual artist, and writer. Her art practice is performative, contemplative, and transformative. Known for her intricate plastic installations and meditative line-work in her paintings, she is influenced by her home country of Lesotho and Southern African culture. She uses ephemeral material such as plastic, tea, dirt, and coffee to comment on displacement, past memories, and the culture of creating.

Growing up in international communities and being an immigrant, she is strongly influenced by the diversity of people, memories, displacement, the other, and ideas of human resilience seen through immigration. With the need to find quiet spaces amidst times of uncertainty, she invites the audience to find a space to contemplate through installation or an abstract tea stain. In her written prose and poetry work, she explores these themes and uses them as a base for her sound work.

She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibits such as SOFA Chicago, Bhavan Gallery based in London, Woman Made Gallery, DIFFA Pop-Up Gold Coast Gallery, and Aqua Art Miami to name a few, her work is also placed in private collections throughout the U.S.

Accommodations: Autogenerated captioning is provided for all virtual programs. When you register for this event you will be asked to provide any accommodations requests including but not limited to: ASL interpretation, closed captioning, transcripts and more. If you have any questions or would like to request an additional accommodation, please contact Sara Cortes at, at least 72 hours prior to the event start.

Registration ends April 1st 2022 at 10:00am Central Time

This program is made possible in part by The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Arts Midwest, the National Endowment for the Arts and DCASE.


April 19, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Garfield Park Conservatory
300 North Central Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60624 United States
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