Zoë Buckman is a renowned mixed media artist whose work is deeply rooted in activism aiming to take down historical, systematic oppression of women. Her work toes the line between masculine and feminine, industrial and handmade, craft and “high” art, personal and collective, explosive and restrained. Buckman aims to make her work accessible to all in order to make space for a dialogue on the topic of gender equality and the violence against women. She has exhibited across the country and internationally, in both solo and group shows. On Guard features three of her pieces, which juxtapose traditionally effeminate mediums and imagery (i.e. pearls, lace and silk) with brutal boxing glove forms.

Cheryl Pope is a Chicago-raised artist who is locally and globally represented. She is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work questions and responds to issues of identity as it relates to the individual and the community, specifically regarding race, gender, class, history, power and place. Her practice emerges from the act and politics of listening, with many of her works incorporating spoken word. The majority of her work relates to boxing, basketball and sports culture. Pope’s "Heavyweight" painting-installation is featured in On Guard.

Megan Euker explores the narratives and histories that objects hold. She questions how changing materials and fabrication methods alters meaning. With the final form becoming wood, cast metal sculptures and printed words, she is going after that which is considered golden, precious, impermanent and irreplaceable as in the athlete’s body, accessories and personal stories. Her works include sculptures and a nonfiction book of stories, relics and images linked through the sport of boxing. Some examples include 3D-scanned and CNC (computer-numerical-control) routed wood sculptures based on HAE's boxing shoes from the prestigious 1939 Golden Gloves competition. Several of her sculptures and paintings are exhibited in On Guard.


Katya Bankowsky is a New York-based director, whose work includes the award-winning movie, “Shadow Boxers,” and many art and music videos. Two of her short films are featured in On Guard.  “Battle Royale” is an on-going short film collaboration between Bankowsky and French fashion icon Michele Lamy about their mutual obsession with boxing and its poetic contradictions. Katya writes, directs and co-stars with Lamy. 

“Amazement Awaits” is a poem written and performed by Maya Angelou at the request of the US Olympic Committee. Bankowsky filmed Angelou reciting the poem in her Harlem brownstone, then intercut it with archival Olympic footage. The film was projected in the Olympic Pavilion during the Beijing Olympics as an inspiration for the young athletes.                                                                                                                                       

Marcela Torres is a social strategist, bringing into action performance, objects, workshops and sound installation. Torres pairs alternative learning methods with martial arts, creating a platform for the audience to witness a true representation of conflict. Torres has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Three Walls Gallery, Performances is Alive: Miami Art Week, Detroit’s Fringe Festival, New York City’s Itinerant Festival and Virtual International Exchange in Boston. Torres has exhibited work at the Flatlands Gallery in Houston Texas, Fosdick Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, Acre Gallery in Chicago and Green Gallery at Yale School of Art. In On Guard, Torres exhibits photography and performs “Agentic Mode,” deconstructing martial art techniques while experimenting with sound. Torres’s motions build an audial symphony as a means to represent the complicated mindspace of violence, the fine line of victim, aggressor, and retaliation.

Kat (Kasia) Kay works in bronze, as well as ceramics and paper. Within each medium, her stylistic approaches are very different, though there are common themes across all of them. She is influenced by daily life, literature, history, culture and introspection. She challenges conventional methods in the art world both as an artist and an art curator, through interdisciplinary methods and exhibitions in public spaces. In On Guard, she exhibits a sculpture of a bronze boxing glove titled #LDFM that is paired with a history-filled vintage glove --- the original for the cast. The work reflects on Kay’s life journey, as well as on the “Life Doesn't Frighten Me” book, a direct inspiration for her curation of On Guard.