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Deadly Prey Gallery To Give African Movie Posters Exhibit a Permanent Home

By  Alisa Hauser and Darryl Holliday | February 23, 2015 5:33pm 

 Siblings Brian and Heidi Chankin.
Siblings Brian and Heidi Chankin.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

NOBLE SQUARE — A new gallery specializing in hand-painted African movie posters and Native American rugs and jewelry will be livening up a stretch of Chicago Avenue this spring.

Located in the former Architrouve spot at 1433 W. Chicago Ave., Deadly Prey Gallery is set to open on April 3rd, kicking off with a one-week show by artists Derek Erdman  and Marieke McClendon.

Erdman, a pop artist, described his work as, "somewhat visually appealing inexcusable panderings," while his take on McClendon's work is "cartoon-y and naively sexual."

Erdman said there is no title yet for the show, his first since leaving Chicago in 2010. He estimated that he will showcase between 20 and 40 new pieces, all "affordably priced."

Though Erdman and McClendon's work is not related to the gallery's African movie posters, the short exhibit will be the first in a rotating series of shows that will spotlight unique artists.

"I heard Brian [Chankin] was opening a gallery and I really like Brian and was struck with the idea of doing a show there; he is such a wonderful guy. I love the style of his movie poster paintings," Erdman said.

Chankin, a film buff and self-described "obsessive collector," began accumulating the African pop culture pieces about four years ago and has amassed a collection of over 350 posters from the era.

An exhibit featuring the posters painted on the backs of flour sacks and advertising many voodoo-themed films — debuted at Harold Washington College's President's library last year.

The paintings cover a wide range of American, Indian and Nigerian culture — Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood films, respectively — all through an equally foreign artistic lens. And the canvas flour sack paintings are large — many about 5-by-4 feet in size.

Chankin, owner of Odd Obsessions Movies, 1822 N. Milwaukee Ave., previously said the posters offer a unique "look into another world" that connects directly to American film culture of the 1980s and '90s when mobile cinema clubs in Ghana began showing imported films to African audiences, moving from village to village with a TV, a VCR and a generator.

Without access to sleek Hollywood advertisements for big budget films, the cinema clubs commissioned local artists to paint promotional posters about many films familiar to Western audiences, among others.

Those posters were painted on the backside of used flour sacks at times without knowledge of the film's plot or content.

In addition to the movie posters, which will cost anywhere from $250 to a few thousand dollars, the gallery will also feature barber shop and pharmacy signs and African toys.

Chankin, 35, and his sister, Heidi Chankin, 29, will be running Deadly Prey together.  

Heidi Chankin, a hair stylist, works at Karen Marie Salon at 1859 N. Milwaukee Ave.,  just up the street from her brother's movie shop.

Heidi Chankin said on Friday that she will curate Deadly Prey's selection of Southwestern art and jewelry sourced from buying trips to New Mexico, where both siblings grew up before relocating to Chicago.

The boutique arm of the gallery will debut in May, featuring hand-made Native American rugs, leather goods and jewelry, she said.

Deadly Prey Gallery, 1433 W. Chicago Ave. (The gallery has no website or phone yet.) Hours by appointment only in March. In April, hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday- Sunday.

The Chankin Siblings:

Future home of Deadly Prey Gallery:

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