An Interview with Ada Rajkovic of Sunday School

Sunday School was an art gallery in LA that has now been transformed into a mobile curatorial space. Run by artist, curator, and organizer Ada Rajkovic, Sunday continues to grow and change. We talked to Ada about art, advocacy, and her new collective Get Artists Paid.


DE: Where are you currently based and what inspired your departure from Los Angeles?

AR: I am currently based in Pittsburgh (where my parents are) and I decided to leave LA because we got evicted from our space (because of our awful landlord/slumlord Nathan Chaim)  and I needed a mental health break from Los Angeles.

DE: So, I read that Sunday was started in your apartment when you were living in LA. What made you decide to start a gallery? What did you hope to create?

AR:  After graduating CalArts I stayed in Los Angeles because it seemed like the only option at the time as an artist and there wasn’t a space for young emerging artists to show their work really at the time so me and some friends started Sunday. We moved into the apartment knowing we were going to renovate and have an art space and I think we had very little expectations. We hoped to create a space for people to be able to chill and comfortably look at art. We wanted something different than the pretentious and inaccessible art galleries we were used to.

DE: Tell us about Artists Get Paid? What has the response been like from both artists and those being called out?

AR: Get Artists Paid is a collective started by myself, Luna Olavarria Gallegos, Jenoris Caba and Cookie Kendle. But really this is something people have been talking about I think forever, in terms of artists needing more rights and autonomy. The group has grown to almost 2k members online and the response has been really positive so far. We have a lot of internal work to do in the group before I think we can fully take on the art world and so far I think we have been successful at making accountability and transparency an objective. People being called out, outside of the group have not had a positive response…Yet. We hope that we can make sustainable changes, but I think that means we have to do more than call out. We need access to institutions and policy makers to change legislation and the inside of how these places work (which ARTISTS, almost never have any control over).

To read more about one of Get Artist Paid’s ongoing projects and read their piece on Medium.com click here.

DE: What can other folks in the art community do to create more inclusive spaces?

AR: I just did a panel w Jasmine Nyende on this in Los Angeles and it went really well. We have a little recap video here. We spoke with people with art spaces, as well as my friend Jennifer Ganata who is a tenants rights lawyer (and helped Sunday when we were getting evicted). I think something people can do is  try to stay aware as possible in your communities. Talk to and listen to your neighbours, attend community meetings, figure out who your city council member is, shop locally (at business’s who have been there forever) and stay as active as possible. I am also hoping that we can build a more networked community across Los Angeles (and really across the nation) of art spaces and the greater DIY art community, which wants to resist the changes we are seeing happen in our communities.

DE: What experiences do you feel shaped your current political ideologies?

AR: The Internet has changed me in that I have been able to meet people outside of my immediate environment, and what they are experiencing.

DE: Why do you think it’s important for artists to use their platform to educate others?

AR:Artists with large platforms should feel responsible to be active in current movements and support other collectives/platforms that are political (if they themselves feel that it is uncomfortable for them) because we are in an incredibly political time rn and it seems selfish not to be aware and not to reflect what is going on.

DE: You’ve been extremely vocal about the campaign to free Chelsea Manning. How do you feel about Obama’s recent commuting of her sentence? How can we continue to show solidarity with others who weren’t lucky enough to be freed?

AR: I am obviously happy that Obama commuted her sentence, but at the same time this does not reflect much in terms of the way our country treats people who expose truthful information. Chelsea went through so much trauma for basically having a conscious and Obama should not be commended. It is the hard work of activists and Chelsea’s legal team that got her out, and that should be highlighted.

DE: What do you think artists and others do to resist oppression in the Trump Era?

AR:    People need to be highly networked, aware, accountable and working with existing movements.

DE: In what ways do you see Sunday growing in the coming years?

AR: It would be amazing if Sunday could become more of an online resource and even a school with a free online curriculum.

DE: Who are some of your favorite artists?

AR: I really don’t like this question because it reinforces the individualistic and competitive mindset artists are forced to have to survive in the art world (or so they think). I guess I could name a collective but those can even be exclusive…maybe everyone in G.A.P.? I am also striking most galleries and museums until they fill out a G.A.P. financial transparency survey.

DE: What’s the best art show you’ve gone to recently?

AR:  I went to a performance show at Human Resources that was incredible when I was in LA that was organized by Elliot Reed featuring Jasmine Nyende, Sarah Gail Armstrong, Nathan Bockelman, San Cha, Alice Cunt, Edgar Fabian Frías and Kyoko Takena.

DE: Why do you think it’s important for young folks to interact with art?

AR:  I think art gives people a sense of imagination and also a security that it is okay to be imaginative. I think art rn is very inaccessible in that you have to be rich to even entertain the idea of being a practicing artist. This narrative needs to change and art needs to become less insular and more accessible.”

DE: What inspires you?

AR: Books! And documentaries, and people! My hero rn is Aaron Swartz. Everybody should watch the Internets Own Boy. Here is a media resource I have started to create.

DE:  Anything else you’d like to share?

AR: The get artists paid website and the Sunday website which are both currently under construction but I’m really happy for them to be coming along finally!

DE: Finally, does pineapple go on pizza?

AR: Yeah!

If you’d like to learn more about Sunday School check out their website here. Their instagram can be found here. To learn more about the Get Artists Paid collective you can check out their website here. Their instagram can be found here or by searching #getartistspaid. To donate to Sunday School you can click here.