Hannah Chalew is an artist, educator and environmental activist raised and currently working in New Orleans. Her artwork explores what it means to live in a time of global warming with a collective uncertain future, and specifically what that means for those of us living in Southern Louisiana.
Her practice explores the historical legacies that got us here to help imagine new possibilities for a livable future. She works in a wide range of media to create artworks ranging from works on paper to large-scale immersive installations that bring together unlikely materials in combinations that are often beautiful. These works draw viewers in to stay with the art that, on closer inspection, has a deeper burn that implicates each viewer in our collective new realities—challenging them to think critically about their place in this greater network as we co-evolve together. Since 2018, she has divested her studio practice from fossil fuels as much as possible through the materials she uses, by powering her artworks and studio practice with renewable resources like solar power and rain-water harvesting, and by traveling by bike to and from my studio.
Chalew’s work has been supported by the Monroe Research Fellowship from Tulane University, the New Museum’s Ideacity grant, and the Platforms Fund, a regranting effort of Antenna Gallery, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Pelican Bomb with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Chalew has exhibited widely around New Orleans and has shown around the country at the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO, Dieu Donné, New York, NY; Asheville Museum of Art, Asheville, NC; and other venues. Her work is held in the collections of the City of New Orleans and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Her work is included in two creative atlases by writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, co-authored with Rebecca Snedeker, and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, co-authored with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. She holds an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and a BA from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.