College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > DePaul Humanities Center > Events > The Tarot: Clarifying the Past, Present, and Future
During the season of “And Then?...” the DHC is attempting to understand the past, clarify the present, and prepare to make a better future in which we are dedicated to our mutual flourishing. This tarot-themed event—which takes place completely through the U.S. mail and is free and open to the general public—looks at the tarot historically and philosophically, thinking about card-reading as a practice and tarot cards as a form of art and a cultural artifact. How might art be a way in which we can accomplish our timely goals? How do human practices, steeped in tradition, point to possible answers as well? Each person who signs up for this event will receive three new tarot cards comprising the celestial Major Arcana: the Sun, the Moon, and the Star. Each never-before-seen card has been created especially for this event by four of the most talented and respected tarot designers working today. The mailing will also include an essay on the meaning of the tarot in relation to the “And Then?...” question as well as a fourth blank card. Participants will be encouraged, but not required, to use the blank card in order to design a card of their own, mailing it back to the DHC so that we might compile a new, full, eclectic tarot deck that has been created by our professional artists and you, the community at large. We then hope to make this full deck available to everyone in the future—a future newly clarified and full of renewed promise.
Courtney Alexander is the creator of the “Dust II Onyx Tarot” which is based on a series of her mixed-media paintings depicting the complexities of blackness as humanity, as a race, and as a color story.
Courtney is a multimedia artist, writer, publisher, and public speaker. Her artistic practice is an ongoing ritual of expansion and emancipation. Through her self-portraiture she challenges the politics and narratives of her identity as a fat black queer femme—moving beyond just the exploration of her physical reality into expressions of herself as a timeless spirit. Less than a year after graduating with her BFA, she developed her series of paintings, Dust II Onyx, which she crowdfunded over $30,000 to self-produce and publish as a tarot deck (and later raised $50,000 for a second printing)—making history as the first black person to create a widely distributed deck and selling 5,000 copies to date. The deck also includes a hard-cover 200-page monograph that serves as a catalogue as well as guidebook.
Courtney’s work has been featured on PBS Arts Plus, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and Bitch Media. She has also been invited as a speaker to the 2018 Memphis Literary Arts Festival, The Black Girl Project Sisterhood Summit 2018, and the 2019 Occult & Humanities Conference NYU. Her deck was acquired by MIT Library Distinctive Collections. In early 2019 she organized and self-funded an impromptu 10-city tour, “Dialogues on Free Existence,” a series of talks and workshops that posed important questions about what existence and freedom mean and how it all connects to others. In 2020 she was invited to be Artist-in-Residence at the Lower Eastside Girls Club where she taught an Art and Literacy Tarot workshop to middle- and high-school girls. She also completed an altar installation for Art on Paper Fair 2020 to honor the young women of the LES Girls Club as sacred powerful beings, shifting the environment of saviorism pervasive through many nonprofit efforts for youth of color into one of reverence and honor. It was listed as one of the fair’s most insightful moments by Hyperallergic. Courtney is also featured in the 2020 release of The Black Futures Project, a visual anthology edited by Kimberly Drew & Jenna Wortham, coming soon from One World, a Random House imprint.
Courtney was born in Pahokee, Florida, a small town off the southeast shores of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida with her BFA in Studio Arts, and is now living and working out of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Trung Le Nguyen, also known as Trungles, is the creator of the “Star Spinner Tarot”—a tarot that reinterprets classic tarot imagery for a more inclusive, diverse, LGBTQ+ reflection of the modern world, with illustrations drawn from a wide range of stories, mythology, and fairy tales.
Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American comic book artist and storyteller from Minnesota. He was born in a refugee camp somewhere in the Philippine province of Palawan. Nguyen has contributed work for Oni Press, Boom! Studios, and Image Comics, largely in the romance genre. His first original graphic novel, The Magic Fish, was published by Penguin Random House. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raises three very spoiled hens. Nguyen is particularly fond of fairy tales, kids’ cartoons, and rom-coms of all stripes.
Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits, the founders of the design studio Uusi, are the creators of the “Pagan Otherworlds Tarot,” a deck based on Gits’ oil paintings and Dunhman’s calligraphy and art design that uses classical painting tropes to offer “bewitching representations of our natural world created and arranged to connect us to nature and each other more meaningfully.”
Dunham and Gits are established artists working in the field of design. Along with private clients, companies they have worked with include: Herman Miller, Design Within Reach, Chronicle Books, Haworth, Sharpie, Draft FCB, and Prismacolor. In the fall of 2010, they launched Uusi (which means “new” in Finnish), a studio based on the idea that life is worth the meaningful effort and its reward is one of discovery. Dunham and Gits are designers and artists who have a love of traditional craftsmanship, material exploration, and a search for the essential beauty in everyday objects. Their passion takes them from limited edition and one-off studio work to multiple production pieces. Under their creative direction, Uusi looks to bring authenticity and a sense of playfulness to the work produced by the studio. All designs at Uusi are produced either in their own studio or in collaboration with small, family-owned companies in the USA who share their attention to detail and commitment to craft. Under their direction, Uusi has released not only the "Pagan Otherworlds Tarot" (now in its sixth edition), but the “Eros: The Garden of Love” Tarot, the “Supra Oracle,” the “Brut Tarot,” several exquisite playing card decks, and a combination tarot-oracle deck, “Materia Prima: An Expression of Matter,” which uses the periodic table to illustrate the fundamentally beautiful, cooperative, and playful mystery of elements and their connection to meaning in the cosmos. “Materia Prima” and “The Pagan Otherworlds Tarot” were both chosen to be part of the MIT Library Distinctive Collection; and all of their tarots were represented in the book “Tarot” by Taschen Books.
Ultimately, Dunham and Gits are designer-artists who have a love of traditional craftsmanship, material exploration, and a search for the essential beauty in everyday objects.