Lili Kobielski, Untitled, Cook County Jail, 2017
Lili Kobielski (BFA '10) was selected as one of 18 artists featured in the exhibition The Way Live Now, by the New York-based publisher and gallery Aperture. Her series of photos documenting the prevalence of mental illness within Chicago's Cook County Jail will be on display at the Aperture Gallery in NYC through August 16, 2018. Lili was also interviewed as part of her selection in the show:
The exhibition asks “How do photographs express a moment of rapid change in society, politics, beauty, and self-expression?” How does your work fit in with this?
Lili Kobielski: I hope this work presents issues that rapidly need to change in society and politics. This project documents the prevalence of mental illness among inmates at Chicago’s Cook County Jail and touches on the reasons so many people are ending up incarcerated instead of receiving treatment at a medical facility: Illinois cut $113.7 million in funding for mental health services between 2009 and 2012. Two state-operated inpatient facilities and six City of Chicago mental health clinics have shut down since 2009. Now more patients than ever are being treated in jail rather than at a mental health facility. Cook County Jail has become one of the largest, if not the largest, mental health care provider in the United States.
Lili (née Holzer-Glier) is also an adjunct professor of Photojournalism in the Department of Photography and Imaging.