About the Project
The Forgotten seeks to create a space for individuals impacted by the intersections of mass incarceration and mental illness to process their feelings of grief, loss, resistance, and resilience through creativity. Meeting virtually over the course of four to six two-hour virtual sessions.
There is limited space and opportunity to process the grief people feel as a result of mass incarceration and being separated from a loved one. Oftentimes people remain in a silo and have very little opportunity to process how being separated from loved ones and having very limited resources to get them the care they need can impact well-being and the ability to reconcile with survivor’s guilt.
The Forgotten seeks to provide a space for individuals to tend to themselves while using art to reveal what is sometimes lost and to uncover what has been forgotten.
About the Artist
Naimah Thomas is a Black femme born and raised in Chicago who currently works as a licensed professional counselor, art therapist, and artist. Her clinical work and art practice often explore the intersections of art and mental health, primarily in BIPOC communities.
Naimah utilizes art to shift narratives around healing, mental health, and creating spaces where exploration and re-imagination are valued. Most of her visual work is informed by her lived experiences as a Black woman, artist, and therapist.
Naimah has had the opportunity to work with a range of people across the lifespan in community, correctional, and nonprofit settings. She received her master’s in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Columbia College Chicago.
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About Illinois Humanities' Envisioning Justice program
Envisioning Justice brings Illinois together to examine and reimagine the criminal legal system through the arts and humanities.
Envisioning Justice leverages the arts and humanities to envision alternatives to the enduring injustice of mass incarceration. This Illinois Humanities initiative works with communities and people impacted by mass incarceration to spark conversation and illuminate community-based strategies that address our racist and unjust criminal legal system.
From 2017 to 2019, Envisioning Justice was concentrated in Chicago. Moving forward, Illinois Humanities is expanding this initiative and its attendant activities throughout the state. As a part of this next phase of Envisioning Justice, we will host and document community conversations, provide grant opportunities, and commission projects by artists and humanists working to shift the narrative around incarceration and system impacted communities.