Irina Zadov is an artist, educator, and cultural organizer. A Soviet Jewish refugee, her practice explores interconnection, decentralization, and the threads that bind the individual and the collective, home and state, diasporic community and chosen family. Her work is primarily relational. She is passionate about healing and justice, emergent facilitation tools, trauma-informed pedagogy, and cultivating spaces that nurture agency, consent, accountability, personal and structural transformation.
She works in partnership with youth, artists, grassroots organizers, and cultural institutions including Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Smart Museum of Art, National Museum of Mexican Art, DuSable Museum of African American History, Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago Freedom School, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and Cambodian Institute for Peace. In addition to working with preexisting institutions, Irina has co-founded several collectives and initiatives including Feast of Words, Open Feast, Hyde Park Dacha, Cities of Peace: Chicago and Phnom Penh, and Chicago Home Theater Festival.
She is currently the Senior Program Specialist at the Chicago Park District, Culture, Arts & Nature Department, where she co-creates city-wide youth programming around issues of civic engagement and cultural stewardship. Her work has been generously supported through grants and awards by American Alliance of Museums, Institute of Museum and Library Services, US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Chicago Art Department, Propeller Fund, Penguin Foundation, Open Meadows Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, Illinois Humanities Council, and Crossroads Fund.