The weekend was filled with art activities such as two exhibition receptions and a panel discussion. It was bittersweet due to the fires that have engulfed the San Francisco Bay Area. Communities have vanished with the hope of rebuilding. Art reconnects and nourishes the soul in the face of adversity.
Friday evening was the Migration exhibit at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael. The juror was Emily A. Kuhlmann, director of exhibition and curatorial affairs at the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco. From the website: “While the definition of migration typically refers to the intentional movement from one place to another, we can point to this action being present in both our personal lives and on a global stage. Movements of individuals, communities, cultures and climate conditions have shaped history and continue to craft our current moment.”
My video installation titled TRANSIT was featured in the Migration exhibit. Fascinated by migration and its patterns, I merge together disparate events and experiences to create new narratives. TRANSIT documents the movement of clouds above the San Francisco Bay and the sounds of Los Angeles International Airport. The artwork researches detachment, displacement, and the definition of home. A sense of belonging and disorientation unites diverse communities and individuals through chance and convenience.
Saturday was the AbstrAction opening at the MARIN Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato. Catharine Clark of Catharine Clark Gallery chose 52 pieces including my OPTIC 2 video installation from over 2000 entries. The artwork visualizes how information traverses through fiber-optic cables on the ocean’s floors. The cables work similarly like a human nervous system in which a synapse permits a neuron to relay an electrical signal. My interest grew to incorporating digital movement to a drawing mimicking data contortion through various network hubs.
The highlight of the weekend was the Richmond Rainbow Pride Film and Culture Event at the Hilltop Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Richmond. From the venue: “The film event will feature short LGBTQI films made in Richmond at the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) Film & Freedom Academy workshops. The recent workshops were conducted at the Richmond Community Foundation and funded by Richmond Neighborhood Public Art Mini Grants.”
The event included a panel discussion featuring Jennifer Devere Brody (Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service, Monette-Horwitze Prize for Independent Research Against Homophobia, and The Theme is Blackness co-producer), Max Dashu (Suppressed Histories Archives founder and ancient female iconography expert), Michele Seville (City of Richmond Arts & Culture Manager) and myself.
The panel explored how LGBTQI artists have used artistic practices to investigate sexuality, desire, identity, and beauty. Administrators discussed how to bring art to the LGBTQI community and its meaningful impacts. The main discussion evolved around LGBTQI art and the exploration of equality, pride, visibility, and justice. Bottom line: how does an entire community elevate such art?
In addition, the event included the screening of AGAINST HATE along with a panel discussion. Filmmaker Brenda Williams documented the disturbing racist, sexist, and homophobic attacks on Richmond Council member Jovanka Beckles. Despite repeated verbal assaults at public meetings, Beckles stood firm against political tactics that degraded her identify through perverted religious interpretations. Today, she is running for California State Assemblymember and needs our support (http://www.jovanka.org/).
The weekend explored the theme of migration, narrative, and community. Information and perspective arrives in many forms. In Greek mythology, a phoenix rises from its predecessor’s ashes obtaining new life. Artists must break down the walls of oppressive institutions and reclaim history. Creative rebuilding is worth the time and effort. The weekend of change will never end…