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Aisha Motlani, ACLS Leading Edge Research Fellow at Arts Alliance Illinois and lecturer, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This event is free and open to the public, with a special invitation to people with a lived experience of homelessness.

  • Date: 7/16/2022 12:00 PM - 7/16/2022 02:00 PM
  • Location 6000 North Broadway, Chicago, IL, USA (Map)
  • More Info: Edgewater Library


In March 1858 the Italo-British photographer Felice Beato arrived in Lucknow to photograph the final stages of the Indian Rebellion (1857-58), a key colonial conflict of the modern era. By the time he arrived, the war had already subsided. Undeterred by his belated arrival, Beato took aim at Lucknow’s war-ravaged structures, including the villas, palaces, and pavilions that were built for the city’s native rulers in a distinctly eclectic architectural style. By locating Beato’s images of Lucknow’s buildings within their architectural, political, and military context, art historian Aisha Motlani argues that the photographer used his camera to attack the city's architecture. Abandoning a picturesque prospect in favor of what she calls a military prospect, Beato’s photographs incriminated Lucknow’s Indo-European buildings, presenting them as stand-ins for Indian rulers or rebels and inviting their viewers to participate in their conquest. By treating buildings as effigies and agents, these photographs enable us to see other images of wartime destruction housed in Chicago repositories such as the Pritzker Military Museum, the Newberry Library and others, in a new light, underscoring the role of war photography as a form of conquest and destruction.

Red Line Service is led by people with a lived experience of being unhoused. Red Line Service wields art world resources to build community, generating the sense of belonging and mutual care essential to securing and retaining housing. We collaborate with artists and cultural institutions to expand access to the art world, avowing that art can break the bonds of ingrained social roles and structures and forge new realities in which all can flourish.

Red Line Service: Art Histories is a series of lectures and conversations presented as part of Art Design Chicago Now, an initiative funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art that amplifies the voices of Chicago's diverse creatives, past and present, and explores the essential role they play in shaping the now.

RSVP through the checkout system is required.

A meal will be provided.