Our American Stories: Asian American Artists Illuminate History, Culture and Identity

2nd Floor, Rosenberg Library
City College of San Francisco,
Ocean Campus

Location and Hours

Artists: Susan Almazol, Salma Arastu, Jung Ran Bae, MalPina Chan, Karen Chew, Reiko Fujii, Kathy Fujii-Oka, Nancy Hom, MariNaomi, Pallavi Sharma, Roger Shimomura, Scott Tsuchitani.

                           Aspects of the Journey by MalPina Chandetail
Aspects of the Journey by MalPina Chan

Why have an exhibition of Asian American Artists depicting their American stories? After all, are we not all citizens of the United States with more commonalities than differences?  The answer is yes and no.

A large portion of the San Francisco County population – 34.2% identify themselves as Asian and that does not include interracial residents.* The significance of the diverse Asian American cultures in our country’s melting pot is not often acknowledged. Some Asian ethnic groups have been here for 4 or 5 generations yet little is known about their history and how they shaped our country. Others are recent immigrants just settling into their new land. Many Asian Americans know little about one anothers’ stories.

Often who we are is based on preconceived notions like names, appearances, and accents. A young girl asks if I am Chinese, I reply, “No I am Japanese American” to which she says, “Oh sorry. What’s the difference anyway?” A restaurant owner guesses I am Filipino. A telephone telemarketer says “Oh you speak good English,” when he hears my Japanese last name.

This exhibition provides the viewer a way to gain deeper insights through the power of art.

Each artist chose a visual story that is significant to his or her history, culture and identity. Masters of their chosen media from glass to paint to book arts, printmaking and assemblage, their compelling expertise and strength of their voice is evident.

To give a story and to receive a story is an exquisite gift to be savored, remembered and passed on to others. You’re invited to write a short version of your story here, click on “Leave a comment” below.

Guest Curator: Judy Shintani, Narrator of Culture

Click here for Library resources on Asian American Art and Artists and for the Library Exhibition Assignment

Special Event, Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Viewing: 5:30-6:30 pm
Artists’ Panel: 6:30-7:30
Madeleine Haas Russell Gallery, Rosenberg Library, 2nd Floor

Lola by Susan Almazol   Kimono by Reiko Fujii American Guardian by Roger Shimomura Grand Mas by Salma Arastu Carry-On  by Pallavi Sharma Artist MariNaomi

Supported by The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center
Participant in the United States of Asian America Festival 2014 – “The Spaces Between” apiculturalcenter.org

Mandala by NancyHom

Mandala by Nancy Hom

http://i1.sndcdn.com/artworks-000055372256-ll2gt1-original.jpg?435a760    APICC_300dpi_logo SFAC logo

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A Show of Power: Africans and African Americans in Science Fiction and Fantasy

3rd Floor, Rosenberg Library
City College of San Francisco
Location and Hours

Amazula_kmosby_lores Stealth_kmosby_lores OnceUponATimeinAfrica_s_weaver_lowres orangeboy_eryoung_lores

What is power? Some of us imagined having superpowers as children. Maybe it was the power to fly, deflect bullets, or climb walls. Was your power super-strength triggered by rage, or invisibility?
Did you visit new worlds through play? Remember how the blankets and pillows become a rocky terrain where your action figures went on adventures, fighting monsters and evil villains? There was power in creating your own stories, but how often did you see yourself in those stories?
Wearing the masks and costumes of our favorite superheroes took us outside of ourselves. We experienced worlds where good usually triumphed over evil. Sometimes, those worlds paralleled our own. When authentic Black characters appear in fantastic stories or possess amazing powers, they resonate with Black audiences. They also honor our history of achievement and overcoming discrimination, exclusion and racism in the U.S. and aborad.
This exhibition showcases the positive shift in popular culture where a growing number of Blacks use their powers to create and publish their own art and stories. It also celebrates how Blacks continue to inspire and influence the images and stories created by others.
Eugene Randolph Young,
Guest Curator
KoiAsagiFRECKLES_lores
                                                                                            Koi Asagi “Freckles”
Download this assignment and great list of websites:

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Spring Library Exhibitions, Rosenberg Library , City College of San Francisco

Spring 2014 Library Exhibitions

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February 28, 2014 · 12:35 am

At the Chinatown/North Beach Center Library

Execrative Order 906-6-6
Scott Tsuchitani

Kitty       Motherhood and Apple Pie

Etchings and Digital Prints
January-May 2014
Click here for Location

Inspired by the book Executive Order 9066, Scott Tsuchitani takes a critical look at the mass detention of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast during WWII and the images used to describe this history. He uses aquatint to beautifully render these historic photographs, adding his own visual commentary. He practices and teaches printmaking at the City College of San Francisco Fort Mason Campus.

This exhibition also includes information on the source photographs and a description of the aquatint technique Tsuchitani used.
The exhibition is on view during building hours:
Mon-Thurs 7:00am-9:00pm
Fri 7:00am-5:00pm
Sat & Sun 8:00am-2:00pm

808 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Circulation:  (415) 395-8643
Reference:   (415) 395-8642
(Located at the corner of Kearny & Washington Streets)

Chinatown/North Beach Center Library exhibitions are curated by Mary Marsh. For more information, contact her at mmarsh (at) ccsf.edu.

Tsuchitani Exhibition Detail 3  Tsuchitani Exhibition Detail

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New World Border and the Great Tortilla Conspiracy

Artists from across the US respond to the border wall now being constructed between the US and Mexico

2nd Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
November 18, 2013-March 9, 2014

New World Border Imin Yeh image

Artists from around the US respond to the border wall.  The wall, now being constructed across the length of the US/Mexico border is like a knife cutting off neighbors, wildlife, indigenous people, and families. The wall is inflaming hatred and contributing to an atmosphere of vigilantism and oppression. While the US walls itself off from the world in the name of “security” what is it sacrificing?  What is the price of this imprisonment? What is at the root of this fear based policy of building walls. Thirty artists take a look at such questions and respond with imagery from a variety of viewpoints. This touring exhibition was launched in Berkeley, CA at La Peña Cultural Center from in March, 2011.

The artists represent a wide cross section of approaches to the printed image, from esteemed Latino Poster Movement artist Malaquias Montoya, to Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, Kearny Street Workshop icon Nancy Hom, New York political illustrator Frances Jetter, co-founder of the California Indian Art Movement, Frank LaPena, as well as powerful work by many other artists.

The wall is destroying and dividing families, communities, eco-systems, and indigenous lands. The wall is part of a national move towards increased militarization of all aspects of society. The time to speak out against it is now.                                                                                               Art Hazelwood
Exhibition Curator

Download the New World Border assignment and list of CCSF Library resources

Check out the New World Border website to see all the artist’ work

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy is a collective based on food. The founding document of the Conspiracy cites the miraculous appearance of several deities, not least of which is the Virgin of Guadalupe, upon various surfaces—clouds, rocks, folded laundry, as well as upon various food stuffs… most famously toast. The tortilla roots of miraculous apparitions goes back to the early days at the Galeria de la Raza in the Mission District of San Francisco. An artist taking his inspiration from vaqueros of yore bent a coat hanger into a sacred shape and branded tortillas with the saintly image. While the tortilla plays the central role in the esthetic practice that is the Great Tortilla Conspiracy the results were not always edible. In fact in the earliest days of the Conspiracy found the humble tortilla decorated with ink better suited for t-shirts than foodstuffs. Technological developments have led the Conspirators in many directions finally settling on a secret recipe that has been called delicious by many a quesadilla acolyte. The now edible artwork produced by the Conspiracy is screenprinted on tortillas and cooked on a griddle so that the image is affixed to the substrate. Simultaneously cheese is melted on the reverse side. Salsa is optional. The art consumer can both eat and enjoy the aesthetic sensation that is the Great Tortilla Conspiracy. Thus with our pre-history disposed of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy steps forth into the 21st century embracing the principles of free food for all, and digestible satire.

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White Collar:

A Depression-Era Graphic Novel
About Work

3rd Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
October 25, 2013-April 12, 2014

White Collar

White Collar, by Giacomo Patri

Artist Giacomo Patri envisioned White Collar as a book that would dramatize, explain and solve the problem of the non-unionized white-collar worker who had been crushed by the poverty of the Great Depression in the 1930s. White Collar contrasts isolated poverty with the alternative: united action of the middle-class worker, it urges white callar workers to join unions and to join with their blue collar fellow workers. Patri had experienced many of the struggles depicted in the book personally. Using the linocut, a technique of carving linoleum attached to wooden blocks, he hand-printed the first edition with the help of his wife Stella, a book designer.  The second and third editions were commercially printed.

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis of the 20th Century.  After the stock market collapsed in 1929, nearly half the country’s banks failed and some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed – nearly one in four workers. California’s unemployment rate was 28% in 1932, and in San Francisco the number of unemployed nearly doubled in one year from 1930 to 1931, reaching its peak in 1933.  Many people lost their homes and their life savings. The U. S. government, led by President Franklin Roosevelt, responded to the crisis with a series of laws and programs called the New Deal. Banking regulations were passed to prevent the financial speculation that led to the stock market crash, social safety net programs such as Social Security were created to prevent poverty, and protections were put in place that legally allowed workers to organize into unions for the first time.

Using strong graphic illustrations and just two colors, White Collar  depicts the impact of the Great Depression on ordinary people through images rather than words. The novel is a wonderful example of the powerful graphic style of the 1930s and an example of the dynamic collaborations between artists and the labor community during this period.  Shortly before World War II began, Giacomo Patri became the Director of the Art Department at the California Labor School. The Labor School’s curriculum included training in various trades, along with history, philosophy and other humanities courses taught from a working class perspective.  The art programs were among the most popular and any many leading artists, musicians and actors taught at the school. Financial support for the California Labor School came primarily from unions and after the war students were able to use GI Bill funds for tuition. Because the School was ethnically diverse during the Jim Crow era and many of the students and faculty were politically progressive, it was targeted as subversive during the McCarthy anti-communist 1950s, which led to its eventual closure in 1957. 

The exhibition White Collar is a collaboration with the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC) at San Francisco State University. The LARC collection includes many works by Patri.

For good stories on the labor movement, checkout the LARC on Facebook.

Download the White Collar Assignment and list of books and other resources in the CCSF Library

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Mujeres Maya/Maya Women

4th Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
September 27-February 8, 2013

Mujeres Mayas 2013

Beautiful Lake Atitlán is far from any city, in the western mountains of Guatemala.  There are volcanoes all around the lake, and a dozen small Tz’utuhil Maya villages. In 1929, coffee plantation worker Rafaél González y González made his own paints by mixing the dyes used by the weavers with sap from a tree.  He began to paint images that reflect traditional Maya life.  Some of his sons and grandsons also became artists, and their paintings show us a rich indigenous culture that has survived 500 years of brutal oppression. The painters are mostly self-taught.  Younger painters watch more experienced artists in order to learn from them.  There are few women artists, and they have learned from their husbands, uncles, or other male family members. Today the grandsons of Rafaél González y González carry on the tradition that he established in the 1920s.  

Early Risers/Madrugadores

Early Risers/Madrugadores   by Pedro Rafaél González Chavajay , Oil on canvas – 15” x 13” 2009

This exhibition was co-curated Rita E. Moran, Director of Maya Woman: The Helen Moran Collection and by members of the CCSF Library staff. Doña Ana Marina Luna, a Spanish teacher in Antigua, Guatemala, contributed cultural background and edited the Spanish translation. The Helen Moran Collection was made possible by the work of Joseph Johnston, curator of Arte Maya Tz’utuhil, who has worked with indigenous artists for 25 years.  By creating a marketplace for their work, he has enabled many of subsistence farmers in a remote area of the world to spend some of their time creating art.  In so doing he has made their unique vision accessible to an international audience. 

The collection was established in honor of Helen Moran, who told her ten Irish-American children, “Never forget where you came from!”  The valiant resistance of indigenous Maya women and men runs parallel to the struggle of the Irish peasants, who likewise fought their oppression for centuries.

 You can see the entire Maya Woman collection online at MayaWomenInArt.org.

Indigenous Maya artworks for sale, plus archives and historical background, are available at ArteMaya.com.

Download the Assignment for Mujeres Mayas and a list of books on Maya Culture and related subjects in the CCSF Library.
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