Curated by Niaz Kausar

ON VIEW: June 4 - July 10, 2022

I AM A HUMAN exhibition graphic

The Evanston Art Center is proud to present the work Alyssa Marie Beech, Niaz Kausar, Parita M. Shah and Shane Kengo Kennedy, curated by Niaz Kausar.

I AM A HUMAN was inspired by the “I am a man” posters of the civil rights movement in the 60’s-70’s, similar to present day’s Black Lives Matter Movement and slogans. This crucial time in American history has not only polarized the country but also brought together and activated many communities. America’s movements and constant fight for social justice has simultaneously empowered individuals and overlooked minorities and the overall humanity and goals of the United States of America. 

At the moment of heartbreak, in the midst of conflict, and at the end of struggle, we are at our most vulnerable. The human condition is universal and as Americans we have more in common than we have differences, I AM A HUMAN strives to invoke empathy and create space for second class citizens. 

I AM A HUMAN is a group show of artists within underrepresented groups of the North Shore and Chicagoland area. The dream is that THE history of America can be written from here on out to include all Americans, dreamers and citizens with humanity and dignity. I AM A HUMAN is just the beginning.


Niaz Kausar

Niaz Kausar is a Pakistani American. Adopted from Lahore, Pakistan and raised in the Chicagoland area, Niaz’s work features narratives and conversations about what it can mean to have a Pakistani identity outside of Pakistan.

Niaz is a painter, printmaker and textile artist, her use of media is informed by the concepts in her pieces. She strives to define what home is, within herself and geographically.

By using bright vibrant colors and patterns from a nostalgic space in her existence, she expresses the desire to connect with her country of origin while attempting to invoke the viewers connection to humanity. Niaz is inspired by the need to speak on the behalf of the oppressed and the struggle within.


Alyssa Marie Beech

Alyssa Marie Beech is a Chicago born and based artist whose practice is rooted in the process of making and breaking rules through a multitude of approaches to drawing. Beech graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Art Education. She currently works as a visual arts educator in Chicago Public Schools; Beech has been teaching for 8 years and considers teaching to be an integral part of her identity as an artist. 

Alyssa views art as play, something that she can return to for meditation and decompression from daily stressors. For the majority of her life, drawing has served as a process of learning new technical approaches and exploring where those approaches are able to take her; it has always been about finding a way to communicate and manage her thoughts and “over thoughts.” Through the process of mark-making, Alyssa is able to create compositions of shapes, lines, and color fields that express the way that she feels as she navigates life. As a black, woman artist, her time is spent adhering to specific rules and regulations as she navigates from space to space and through art-making she is able to enjoy breaking imagined artistic rules of her own along the way.

Parita M. Shah

Shane Kengo Kennedy

Growing up in a bilingual multicultural household and moving back and forth between Chicago and Osaka has been the most formative factor in how I approach artistic creation. Witnessing the numerous idiosyncrasies in both cultures which often were contradictory encouraged me to look at art as a universal language and form of expression.

Language has often been said to be the lifeblood of a civilization, revealing an amalgam of truths, good and bad, moral and immoral, subjective and objective. My work focuses on exploring how society is shaped by the infinitely complex world of language, and what hidden truths can be made visible. I like to think of my finished work as assemblage art regardless of the medium due to the massive number of inspirations, knowledge, and chance that is assembled into a single cohesive piece. My current works can be seen as a direct challenge to how we define progress and value, using imagery, text, and installation to engage the viewer in an area of discourse which is not openly discussed in everyday life, but exists nonetheless. Due to the interactive nature of language, my works themselves are also intended to be strongly engaging and interactive, challenging the viewer to engage with their preconceptions, realizations, and instincts.


This exhibition will be held in the Second Floor Gallery + Atrium of the Evanston Art Center (EAC). Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors, and staff.

Gallery Hours

Monday–Friday: 9am–6pm

Saturday–Sunday: 9am–4pm


Artwork sale proceeds benefit both the artist and the Evanston Art Center. If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Audrey Avril, Manager of Exhibitions, at [email protected] or (847) 475-5300 x 107.

This project is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and EAC's general membership.

Artwork Shown: Niaz Kausar, What's Important, 2017.