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Indybay Feature

Activist Imagination

Friday, March 14, 2008
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Event Type:
Samantha Chanse
180 Capp St. San Francisco, CA
Location Details:
180 Capp St. San Francisco, CA 94110
Third Floor


In its 35th anniversary year, Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multidisciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization in the country, has collaborated with visual artists Bob Hsiang, Donna Keiko Ozawa, and Christine Wong Yap to produce Activist Imagination, an exhibition about activism, art, and community. Responding to KSW’s rich history of activism and art, Activist Imagination offers a multigenerational and multi-media look at the past, present, and future of Asian Pacific American activism. Photographer Bob Hsiang will unveil recent portraits of activists, including longtime civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama, South Bay organizer Raj Jayadev, and Oakland performance poet Shailja Patel. Donna Keiko Ozawa will show new interactive sculptures, including viewer-activated pieces inspired by the struggle to save the International Hotel, where Kearny Street Workshop was founded in 1972. Christine Wong Yap contributes site-specific installations and a screenprinted multiple to continue her work around optimism and pessimism.
The Activist Imagination exhibition goes hand-in-hand with an Activist Imagination discussion series running from November 2007 - May 2008, and a catalog of the exhibition will be released at the closing event on May 24th. Activist Imagination is made possible in part by a grant from the Creative Work Fund
through support from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. Activist Imagination is also supported in part by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation.

Date/Time: EXHIBITION OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, February 29, 2008; 6.30 - 9pm
Exhibition runs February 29 - May 24, 2008.
Gallery hours: Wed., Thurs., 3 - 6pm; Sat., 2 - 6pm; and by appointment.
Location: Kearny Street Workshop's space180, 180 Capp Street, 3rd Floor, @ 17th Street, San Francisco
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Information: 415.503.0520; info [at];
Join the conversation online:

RELATED EVENTS (all events are free and open to the public, and take place at KSW’s space180):
Friday, February 29, 2008; 6.30 - 9pm
Exhibition: Opening Reception
Thursday, March 27, 2008; 7 - 9pm
Public Discussion: Where Are We Going: the future of activism
Thursday, April 24, 2008; 7 - 9pm
Public Discussion: Artist Talk with Bob Hsiang, Donna Keiko Ozawa, and Christine Wong Yap
Saturday, May 24, 2008; 6.30 - 9pm
Closing Reception & Catalog Release

Bob Hsiang began photographing various political and cultural events at the dawn of the Asian Movement some thirty five years ago. A student journalist at the time, he witnessed the growth of Asian American awareness on both the East and West Coast. After studying at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, he lived in New York and was active in the anti-war Vietnam movement and community involvement among Asian American groups. In the mid-seventies, he moved to San Francisco where he joined Kearny Street Workshop and taught photo classes at the de Young Museum Art School. During that period, he became involved with the International Hotel struggle for senior housing and the preservation of the hotel. Hsiang also began documenting Asian American cultural groups such as Asian American Theater, Asian American Dance Collective and Asian American Jazz Festivals. He is still active at Kearny Street Workshop as an advisor and often participates in various exhibitions and events. Aside from community work, Bob developed a freelance photography career in the Bay Area which he practices to this day. Among his clients are corporations, non-profit organizations and private clients.

Donna Keiko Ozawa is a native San Franciscan living in Berkeley with an Oakland studio. Her work is primarily sculpture and installation which include kinetic and viewer-activated sculpture, politically inspired work and art with recycled and found materials. Her work has been exhibited in Northern California, Chicago, Baltimore and Tokyo, Japan. Since graduate school, Ozawa has worked as a stagehand, museum preparator, and art and environmental educator. In 2005, she created and produced "The Waribashi Project: San Francisco," an environmental art project about disposable chopsticks in collaboration with Japantown restaurants and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC). Prior to receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997, she worked as a community organizer and youth advocate. For more information, visit and

Born in California in 1977, Christine Wong Yap makes drawings, prints, sculptures, installations and papercuts around the themes of optimism and pessimism. She has exhibited throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently at Green Papaya Art Projects (Philippines) and in the FRED Festival (UK). She holds a BFA and MFA from the California College of the Arts (CCA). Her involvement in community work includes leading 17 mural projects around the country. She lives in Oakland, CA and is an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA. For more information, please visit

Kearny Street Workshop is a community-based arts nonprofit based in San Francisco. Founded in 1972, KSW's mission is to produce and present art that enriches and empowers Asian Pacific American communities. Our vision is to achieve a more just society by connecting APA artists to community members to give voice to our cultural, historical, and contemporary issues. Now in our 35th year, KSW offers workshops, visual exhibitions, readings, artist salons and panel discussions, an annual arts festival, and more. For more information, please visit
Added to the calendar on Fri, Mar 14, 2008 5:11PM
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