Evanston’s Indira Freitas Johnson reports that three of her artworks have been sought for purchase by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The three drawings acquired are from her Death and Rebirth Series and are simply labeled I, II, and III. Each is  22” by 30,” done in colored pencils on paper.

Indira Freitas Johnson. Credit: Caroline Jacobson

She says the request “came out of the blue.” The artist first received an email from Katherine Blood, the curator of fine prints in the Library of Congress, inquiring about a possible purchase of the drawings. Blood warned Frieitas Johnson that there was a “whole process before buying,” but that, if the works were available, she would soon get back to her. 

The Library of Congress is a research library in the nation’s capital that houses millions of items of different formats and subject materials, serving as the national library.

Freitas Johnson formerly exhibited and sold her work through Walsh Gallery in Chicago’s West Loop, but that gallery has closed. Since then, she has not had gallery representation but has shown her art and made sales through exhibits, commissions, Instagram and Facebook.

The internet and social media often bypass the gallery system these days, with Instagram being the favorite venue of many artists. Blood told Freitas Johnson that she liked to follow artists on Instagram, then she saw and became interested in the artist’s work on her own website.

Art by Freitas Johnson. Credit: Indira Freitas Johnson

About these newly purchased artworks, the artist says, ”I am thrilled. … When my mom became ill with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, I was devastated and filled with anger at God, fate, and whoever else I could blame for this harsh diagnosis. 

“To process my pain and sadness, I tried to capture the essence of my mother, her life force and unwavering commitment of love towards me and the rest of our family. I turned to my mom’s letters which, before the age of easy telecommunication, she wrote every fortnight while I was in college in the U.S.

“The drawings in the Death and Rebirth series are a result of that reflection. The process of creation, life, death, and rebirth in India, is symbolic of the ongoing cycles of life; that continue through days, seasons, years, millennia. I now see that death completes the circle temporarily and in completion lets us achieve immortality, in the memories and stories of our children, grandchildren and friends.”

Freitas Johnson is currently having a one-person show at the Arts Center of Highland Park, formerly known as the Suburban Fine Arts Center, at 1957 Sheridan Rd. The show is called BeLonging and is accompanied by a group exhibit called What Does Freedom Look Like?

The exhibit opened the evening of March 3, accompanied by champagne and appetizers and was well-attended. A dramatic sculpture by Freitas Johnson’s husband, Karl Johnson, welcomed gallery-goers at the front door. The show runs until April 8. 

Freitas Johnson also serves on the Evanston Arts Council. She maintains a studio just off Main Street in Evanston where she not only has the company of other artists, but a garden in which she displays her sculpture and often stores raw materials for her mixed media works.  

Also see Freitas Johnson’s ‘chairs’ are made for conversation,the seventh in a series about public art in Evanston created by women.

These three artworks by Freitas Johnson, part of her Death and Rebirth series and labeled I, II, and III, have been sought for purchase by the Library of Congress. Credit: Indira Freitas Johnson

Gay Riseborough is an artist, has served the City of Evanston for 11 years on arts committees, and is now an arts writer at the Evanston RoundTable.

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *