June 17, 2008 - November 1, 2008
Central Library, Lobby Gallery

by Chanika Svetvilas


In this site-specific installation, I have transformed the space covering the walls with ubiquitous plastic plaid tote bags made in China called "hong lan dan" (blue and red bag). They are also known by other various names including the Guyanese Samsonite in Trinidad, Tuekenkoffer or Turkish suitcase in Germany, Bangladeshi bags in England, "Ghana must go bag" in Nigeria, "Efiewura Sua Me" or "help me carry my bag" in Ghana, refugee bag, and Chinatown tote, in U.S. urban areas. Here I have lined the pockets with silver and gold representing the hopes and dreams to come - empty to be filled or disillusions of unfulfilled promises.

Included in the space, suitcase sculptural expressions, created with mixed media and found objects refer to the socioeconomic relationships of border crossing and aspirations for a new homeland. These suitcases also echo the intersections between consumers, labor, and globalization.

Please write or illustrate your wishes for life in the United States or what home means to you on the paper provided. Please fold and deposit into the wall pockets.


"Meet the Artist": Chanika Svetvilas
Central Library - Lobby Gallery
Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 7:30 p.m.


BPL Exhibition, Chanika SvetvilasChanika Svetvilas has exhibited her work in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Queens Museum of Art, Denver International Airport, International Resource Center in Flushing, Gallery Three in Brooklyn and Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn. She has received grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and has held residencies at BCAT/Brooklyn Community Access Television and Rotunda Gallery. She earned a B.S. in studio art from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

To contact the artist: