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Ruby Barnes and Ginny Sykes, collaborative team

Ruby Barnes is one of the founding member of TransCultural Exchange and a Chicago artist and painter who is currently making a living as a commercial illustrator and a part time teacher. She also is a shaman apprentice in the tradition originating in the Peruvian Andes. Currently her artwork revolves around the natural world and the ever-present spirit that exists within it.

Ginny Sykes is an original member of the Chicago based TransCultural Exchange and an artist, educator, writer and activist. She has exhibited in Chicago, the U.S. and international, and has completed several permanent out-door public art works. She is a member of Chicago Public Art Group and teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago and in Illinois Arts Council and Gallery 37 programs. Her recent paintings, drawings and other art projects are complex abstract visual diaries exploring ideas such as the acquisition of knowledge, death, the fluidity of place, sexuality and the Pandora’s box of secrets that form our emotional and non rational consciousness.

The nest is a visual symbol of many things close to us as humans—home, security, nurturing, warmth, being taken care of—basic human needs as we are part of the animal world. On another level we see the nest representing the physical manifestation of self, the layers of our lives collected from different times and gathered around us, defining who we are. So, in these works, the nest is our starting point to which countless things can be added collected and layered.