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Dear America

Not on view
7/2/2021 - 8/12/2021
Organizing institution:

Responding to the growing epidemic of violence against Asian Americans, Dear America, a grassroots mobile public art project led by Bay Area artist Christy Chan, projects the art works of Asian American artists on the walls of high rise buildings throughout the Bay Area. The 4- to 15-story tall projections beam images and messages of resilience in English and eight different Asian languages, including, among others, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Thai.

With few exceptions, the projections are unsanctioned and intentionally installed without gaining permission from municipalities and local corporations. The art works range from Cathy Lu’s “We Are One Family” and Mel Chin’s “Better” to Christy Chan’s “White Supremacy is the Original Cancel Culture” (see full list of artists below). Lead artist Christy Chan says of the project: “In a time when the right to belong of Asian Americans is being questioned, taking up space matters. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. since the 1800’s. In sharp contrast to the false notion that Asian Americans are a people whose belonging in America must be granted by non-Asian Americans, this project is about Asian Americans unapologetically taking up space, celebrating each other’s presence, and not asking permission to do so.”

Some of the artworks speak directly to respecting the safety of elderly, including “Hands off Waipo and Gong Gong.” Bay Area-based artist Christine Wong Yap is one of the artists whose work is featured. Her Chinese and English language “Less discrimination. More Understanding” image lit up a 25-story building near Lake Merritt. With Asian Americans comprising over 30 percent of the population, the Bay Area has one of the largest concentrations of AAPI communities in the continental U.S. Yet it too, along with the rest of the United States, has witnessed a dramatic spike in violence directed at Asian American elderly during the pandemic, with numerous fatalities.

Schedule of projections:
July 2: Downtown Oakland / Lake Merritt Area, Northwest side of lake
July 15: Downtown San Francisco
July 18: San Francisco, Huntington Park by Grace Cathedral (sanctioned projection in partnership with Grace Cathedral)
July 25: Downtown San Jose
Aug 12: Closing Night Program at Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, CA.

To find out exact addresses of each projection, the public is invited to visit the project’s instagram account (@dear_america_project.) Those who correctly answer a question about Asian American history will be emailed the coordinates of the next projection location, prior to projection.

Website: www.dearamericaprojections.com
Instagram: @dear_america_project

Dear America features artworks by the following artists:
Cathy Lu
Christine Wong Yap
Christy Chan
Jenifer K Wofford
Mel Chin x For Freedoms
Related Tactics

Dear America is an artists-run project supported by community donations and in part by community partners Mills College Art Museum and Stand With Asian Americans.

ORGANIZER / ARTIST:
Christy Chan is a Bay Area-based film director and artist who interweaves filmmaking, installation, storytelling and community organizing to create participatory platforms for dialogue around race, class and social justice issues. Her public art projects seek to foster opportunities for self-representation by communities of color, with the belief that storytelling is a form of narrative justice and narrative justice is a form of social justice. christychan.com

ARTISTS:

Mel Chin x For Freedoms
Mel Chin, born in Houston, Texas in 1951, is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that can enlist science, history, politics as components or layers to developing complex ideas. Miranda Lash, curator of Chin’s 2014 traveling retrospective exhibition, Rematch, described his work as having a mutative strategy, depending on concepts to derive the materials of its realization, from actions to films, to objects, as necessary. For Freedoms is an artist-led organization that models and increases creative civic engage- ment, discourse and direct action. We work with artists and organizations to center the voices of artists in public discourse, expand what participation in a democracy looks like, and reshape conversations about politics. forfreedoms.org

Cathy Lu is a ceramics based artist that manipulates traditional Chinese art imagery and presentation as a way to deconstruct the assumptions we have about Asian American identity. Unpacking how experiences of immigration, cultural hybridity, and cultural assimilation become part of American identity is central to her work. She currently teaches at California College of the Arts and Mills College. cathylu.com

Related Tactics is an artistic collaboration between transdisciplinary artists Michele Carlson, Weston Teruya, and Nathan Watson. Our projects explore the connections between art, social justice, and the public through creative exchange, collective art-making, and dialogue. relatedtactics.com

Jenifer K Wofford is a San Francisco artist and educator whose work plays with notions of hybridity, authenticity and global culture, often with a humorous bent. She is also 1/3 of the Filipina-American artist trio M.O.B. Wofford’s work has been exhibited in the Bay Area at the Asian Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, YBCA, Southern Exposure, and Kearny Street Workshop.

Christine Wong Yap is a visual artist and social practitioner who works in community engagement, drawing, printmaking, and publishing. She partners with organizations to conduct participatory research projects to explore dimensions of psychological well being, including belonging and resilience. christinewongyap.com

Film Projection Crew:
Michael Mersererau
Amal Amer
Brandi Howell
Kara Herold
and more

COMMUNITY AND PROGRAM PARTNERS:

Founded in 1963, the Chinese Historical Society of America collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for research, scholarship and learning to inspire a greater appreciation for, and knowledge of, their collective experience through exhibitions, public programs, and any other means for reaching the widest audience.

Grace Cathedral is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the United States. It is a house of prayer for all people and a spiritual crossroads in one of the world’s most dynamic and beautiful cities. Our congregation includes families and singles, children and seniors, and a diversity of ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, interests and backgrounds as wide as the world itself.

Kala Art Institute, founded in 1974, is an international artist residency program in West Berkeley rooted in the local community. Kala has grown steadily in the breadth of its offerings and size of operation, yet remains true to its mission to be a workshop of ideas and to engage the community through artist residencies, exhibitions, education, and public programs.

Founded in 1925, the Mills College Art Museum is a forum for exploring art and ideas and a laboratory for contemporary art practices. Through innovative exhibitions, programs, and collections, the museum engages and inspires the intellectual and creative life of the Mills community as well as the diverse audiences of the Bay Area and beyond.

Montalvo Arts Center is a donor-supported nonprofit whose mission is to engage the public in the creative process, acting as a catalyst for exploring the arts, unleashing creativity, and advancing different cultural perspectives. Located in Silicon Valley’s Saratoga Hills, Montalvo is home to the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Program, the Carriage House Performing Arts Series, and a robust arts education program.

Stand with Asian Americans is a coalition of business leaders and activists committed to the future of the AAPI community. SWAA is a national organization with over 100+ volunteers and local chapters in the SF Bay Area and NYC. Through our partnership with the Asian Pacific Fund, we launched the Catalyst Fund for Justice, our grant-making arm focused on sustaining the movement through high-impact projects that lift the AAPI community.


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