Artist statement from Gretchen Hasse:
Resilience: The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
I have a dear friend who has endured an immense amount of trauma related to her experience as an immigrant. She and I frequently discuss the representation of marginalized communities in public discourse. One such conversation focused on a photograph I took in Haiti soon after the earthquake; it was an image of Haitian students celebrating their recent graduation from a healthcare training program. I wanted to present the image as respectful, and not voyeuristic.
My friend said, “call it Resilience.” It was the perfect word. It was exactly what the photograph represented. Resilience has been one of my favorite words ever since.
Rogers Park embodies resilience. The word acknowledges trauma, but also strength and ingenuity. It deeply resonates with me, in relation to my years of physical struggle. I see evidence of resilience expressed in countless, unique ways by the residents of this neighborhood.
My densely packed mural design includes portraits of a wide variety of humanity, symbolic images of the city, and some lush hints of climbing ivy - a strong plant that thrives in challenging environments.
I have always loved dense imagery. When I was young, I had favorite images that I would come back to again and again, always finding new things. I like to imagine people of all ages passing by this mural and seeing something new every time they look at it. I want to give them something to carry with them and think about during their day.