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I am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence

April 16-November 2, 2016
Rosenberg Library, Ocean Campus, 3rd & 4th Floors, Atrium

I AM SAN FRANCISCO makes visible the existence, depth, and diversity of Black life and culture in San Francisco. The exhibition is created in response to the overwhelmingly widespread impression that black life in San Francisco has faded away. This belief only serves to perpetuate the lack of acknowledgement and cultural awareness in San Francisco that is affecting all of us.

San Francisco has always been a city in transition, and it has also always been characterized by its commitment to cultural diversity and creative communities. The evolution of anything naturally involves the evolution of all its parts. We are doing our part to make sure we are not overlooked so that we can grow together with our city. In the words of James Baldwin “We are the San Francisco that no one talks about.”  We are not here to fight, struggle, or prove anything. Our intent is to share our insight on our ever-changing city by recognizing the depth, beauty, complexity, and abundance prevalent within ‘Black life’ in San Francisco—culturally, communally, and individually.

This exhibition is Part II, a sequel to Part I, curated by Kheven LaGrone, I Am San Francisco: (Re)collecting the Homes of Native Black San Franciscans, featured earlier this year at the San Francisco Main Public Library. I am San Francisco is inspired by conversations I have had with my uncle, Kheven LaGrone, regarding diversity within Blackness in the wake of Black Lives Matter.

I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence features art from San Francisco natives and residents. We must remember that one story could not capture the magnitude of our presence, to quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Storytellers and artists represented in I Am San Francisco include:

Aliyah Dunn-Salhuddin; Alma Robinson; Dr. Andrew Jolivette; Emory Douglas; Sophie Maxwell; Dr. Joseph Marshall; Thea Matthews; Virginia Jourdan; Kali O’Ray; Stewart Shaw; Blanche Brown; Bongo Sidibe; Ras K’dee; Carol Tatum; Edward Jackson; Isaih Ball; Joanna Haigood; Maya Rogers; Liz Jackson-Simpson; Marco Senghor; Megan Dickey; Sydney “Sage” Cain; Sabrina Lawrence; Dr. Toye Moses, Theo Ellington; Thomas Simpson; Wanda Holland-Greene; Jacqueline Francis; Wanda Sabir; William Rhodes; Michael Ross; Rhiannon MacFayden; Devorah Major; Gregory Harden; Xavier “Chavi Lopez” Schmidt; Tania Santiago; Samoel “Urubu Malandro” Domingos; Halima Marshall; Careem Conley; Mohammed Bilal; Kristine Mays; Michole “Micholiano” Forks; Jess Clarke; Christine Joy Ferrer; Kheven LaGrone; and the Three Point Nine Collective. The Collective is “an association of African American artists, curators, and art writers. Their work represents their creative contribution to the African American existence, enriching the greater San Francisco artistic community with their narratives and perspectives born from being members of a diasporic community.”

Jarrel Phillips
CCSF Guest Curator
Executive Director, AVE
Member, Three Point Nine Collective
I am a product of San Francisco and San Francisco is a product of me.

Christine Joy Ferrer, Exhibition Panel Designer
EO MVMNT  Media + Design Founder

Window Installation: Sydney “Sage” Cain

Download Assignment and list of library resources: I am SF

Read the related article in Race, Poverty & The Environment

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Filed under Art and Activism, City College Community, Cultural Studies, San Francisco History