I really enjoyed talking to Le Beni Buconyori, like many Chicagoans he is an immigrant to the U.S. He has lived in Chicago since 2005, and in Rogers Park for the last seven years. Le Beni is from Burundi and moved to Chicago after going to college in Michigan. He was drawn to Chicago because of the diversity. Le Beni settled in Rogers Park after careful consideration. LeBeni says he feels particularly at home in Rogers Park because of his friends, with whom he speaks primarily his native French tongue, and even the Indian food on Devon, which reminds him of the Indian food he ate growing up in Africa.
There are some particular places which feel special to Le Beni in his apartment. He has a special ritual around making and eating meals. While preparing dinner he turns on an internet stream of a radio program from Burundi and takes some time to be immersed in news from his homeland. The painting was inspired by the way in which LeBeni described the experience of sitting on his couch and looking out the window. He has an extraordinary view of Lake Michigan from that window in his living room, and says that the whole sensory experience of the view, the sounds of the lake and feel of the lake breezes make the couch a special place in his apartment. As an immigrant, Leboni has a unique take on what home means to him. He describes home as place that you create for yourself, you build home he says.
Special thanks to Stefano Vita for use of his music in the audio recording.