‘Nevermore Park’ a unique, interactive exhibition

Julian Ingersoll, Reporter

It isn’t often that artists literally put you inside their heads. 

With unconventional interactive creations and prominent examples of imagination and emotion, that’s exactly what happens at Nevermore Park, a once-in-a-lifetime, interactive experience that tests your senses and your imagination — a must-see experience for anyone associated with Chicago and its culture. The large installation, located, located at 949 W. 16th St., is open through Dec. 1, and admission is $28.

Hebru Brantley, a well-known street style artist from the southwest side of Chicago, is known for his characters Lil Mama and Flyboy, a pair of goggle-wearing cartoon characters. Mr. Brantley’s website states, “Brantley utilizes these iconic characters to address complex ideas around nostalgia, mental psyche, power, and hope.”

He has also collaborated with many well-known organizations and people such as The Chicago Children’s Choir and Chance the Rapper. 

The exhibit is neat with nice, square paintings on the walls, but the distant loud music feels out of place. Around the corner, it looks as if there was a hole punched on the side of the exhibit. 

The walls of the unconventionally placed tunnel which leads you into the main room which leads you into the main room are covered with speakers,, hidden behind sheets of old newspaper paper. Walking into the main floor, a giant head of Brantley’s famous character Lil Mama greets each participant, and balloons cover the ceiling. 

Then the true experience begins. Brantley’s vivid imagination, as well as your own inevitable curiosity, as well as your own inevitable curiosity, will pull you through the 6,000 square-foot exhibit. Some rooms may leave you unsettled, some may have you covering your ears, and other rooms will leave you with a sense of relatability.

The exhibit is very Chicago-oriented and is a perfect physical rendition of the mind of Hebru Brantley. Like all minds, it has its own busyness, crowdedness, and places that make you feel uncomfortable — maybe even a little lonely. Each item, statue or crushed plastic cup has a meaning toward his life in Chicago. 

“We are also planted in the world of ‘Nevermore.’ The exhibition is an artwork within an artwork… The story has been manifested and we are now within its architecture,” says the plaque at the beginning of the exhibit. 

Brantley also places us in his view of Chicago and his characters. In illustrating his own experiences, he wants visitors to feel wowed yet uneasy, safe yet at risk.

Leave expectations behind and walk into the creative mind of Hebru Brantley at “Nevermore.”