The San Francisco Bay Area has long been distinguished as a center of important radical organizing and art by communities of color. Kearny Street Workshop itself is the product of Asian Pacific American activists and artists coming together during the infamous San Francisco I-Hotel evictions of the 1970s.
South Asian Americans have been organizing across California for over a century, from the Ghadar Party, the West Coast Indian American anticolonial movement founded in 1913, and continuing through the post-9/11 period. Each wave of organizers has created art reflecting their movements, using a variety of media, including paintings, woodcuts, music, theater, and performance art.
In August 2013, the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour curated Our Name is Rebel: Images of Berkeley’s South Asian Legacy, featuring art inspired by the stories told on the walking tour. Kearny Street Workshop is delighted to partner with the curators to bring the show to Oakland, expanding the scope to encompass contemporary work that builds on historical themes.
Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California connects the century-long history of South Asian American activism with contemporary social movements, linking local and global struggles for equity and social justice. In their work, the seven featured California artists address themes of historical memory, cross-racial solidarities, feminist and LGBTQ organizing, anti-caste struggles, colorism, Islamophobia, and the U.S. war machine. Many of the pieces build on South Asian art styles, reflecting our communities’ hybrid and immigrant identities. Living in an age of unrestrained neoliberalism, post-racial delusions, climate change misinformation, and incessant surveillance and fear-mongering, it is of paramount importance to be clear — a century on, the struggle continues.
Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed
Nick Singh Randhawa
Design Action Collective
October 17, 2014-March 7, 2015
Gallery Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 9AM-5PM
Asian Resource Gallery
310 8th, btn. Webster & Harrison, Oakland
Curatorial Statement & Artist Bios: http://bit.ly/1DdOnYN
PANEL DISCUSSION Saturday, March 7, 2015, 3-5PM
Curators: Barnali Ghosh & Alex Wang
Special Thanks: Anirvan Chatterjee & Design Action Collective
Presented by Kearny Street Workshop, Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour & East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation*
All photos by Mido Lee.