Despite the horrendous dining hall food, the showers that require flip-flops, and the itty bitty twin bed that is quite too small for even barely five-foot tall me, I must say — Spring Break is definitely an upside of college. Instead of vacationing in a paradise-like beach city with my closest friends like many of my peers did, I decided to save some money and treat myself to a relaxing week at home. Boy, they weren’t lying when they said college makes you broke for four years!
My week at home consisted of lots of food, lots of work, lots of hugs, lots of laughs, and lots of rest. All-in-all, a successful week for me. I absolutely love being at home; I actually really dread going back to college after breaks. Maybe it’s my momma’s hugs, maybe it’s Jake’s silly jokes, or maybe it’s my queen sized bed, but there really is no place like home.
This break, my wonderfully sweet friend, Paris, and I decided to hop on the Metra to get brunch in the city. Whilst eating my beyond yummy chorizo, potato, and cheese omelette, we began to gather our plans for the day. Since living so close to Chicago my whole life and officially exhausting myself of all touristy activities, I’ve gained a new-found love of exploring the lesser-known treasures that lie within Chicago’s borders. On this day, we found ourselves a treasure for sure.
After breakfast, we met up with another wonderful friend of ours, Zimani, and made our way down the city streets to the Museum of Contemporary Photography in downtown Chicago. The museum itself is an extension of Colombia College Chicago; the museum houses a mixture of exhibitions and collections from both well-known, and lesser-known photographers from all over the country. The best part? It was totally free! My inner broke college girl was squealing with delight.
The museum itself was incredibly minimalistic. It was a small space consisting of three floors, with the first floor being it’s largest by far. The area was small, the decor was sparse, many of the pictures even lacked frames. None-the-less, it was still enthralling to walk around and admire the works of art. There was little to no provided information for each piece/exhibition; I really enjoyed that though, it forced me to introspectively examine each photo to determine its meaning to me.
The exhibition featured during our visit was a collection of photos from the photographer Viviane Sassen. Sassen spent the first three years of her life in Kenya before moving to Amsterdam. Her photographs at the museum are very abstract pieces taken in the towns throughout Kenya, using many geometrical shapes, mirrors, and shadows to convey a multitude of emotions — most of them focusing on death, mourning, and darkness.
Throughout the entire museum, a certain room stuck out most to me. It was a dark, square room: one wall was a mirror, one wall was black, and the remaining two adjacent walls had photographs scrolling past them. It was extremely interactive for us as viewers: the order of the photographs, the layout of the room, the entire set up transported us to a different place. The fact that you could look in the mirror, staring directly at yourself in the picture that scrolled across the opposite wall was absolutely fascinating. The fact that, depending on where you stood in the room, your shadow reflected on the photo differently was mesmerizing. It truly transported us viewers to the streets of Kenya: feeling the mourning, feeling the sand on the ground, feeling the burkas on the women that passed. It transported us to a whole new world.
The entire exhibition itself evoked such strong emotions from Paris, Zimani, and I. We could not be torn away from that room; we sat there in awe for the entire duration of the piece: analyzing shadows, angles, and how the photos hit the corners of the walls. It was a humbling experience being transported to that whole new world.
After snapping back to reality and all that we are blessed with, we decided to end our day with a plethora of yummy treats from Molly Cupcakes. Definitely check it out, definitely order their Ron Bennington cupcake. Best.Dessert.Ever.
I urge you to find an experience that humbles you, something that makes you appreciate the little things you never thought to be thankful for. Partake in that experience and never forget it.