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Activist Imagination: Exhibition Closing Reception & Catalog Release

Saturday, May 24, 2008
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Ellen Oh
Location Details:
180 Capp St. #5
San Francisco CA 94110

On Saturday, May 24th, the oldest multidisciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization, Kearny Street Workshop (KSW), launches its newest exhibition catalog as part of the closing reception for the 35th anniversary exhibition, Activist Imagination. KSW collaborated with visual artists Bob Hsiang, Donna Keiko Ozawa, and Christine Wong Yap to develop a unique, complex and probing exhibition about activism, art, and community, distilled and examined in this beautiful new publication.

The 72-page catalog features an essay by Kevin B. Chen, Program Director of Intersection for the Arts; selected transcripts from the discussion series with artists and activists that took place over the course of the exhibition; and 24 full-color pages presenting some of the artwork of Activist Imagination, which offers a multigenerational and multi-media look at the past, present, and future of Asian Pacific American activism. The artwork includes Bob Hsiang’s portraits of activists, including longtime civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama, gay marriage activist and filmmaker Stuart Gaffney, and Oakland performance poet Shailja Patel; Donna Keiko Ozawa’s interactive sculptures, including viewer-activated pieces inspired by the struggle to save the International Hotel, where Kearny Street Workshop was founded in 1972; and Christine Wong Yap’s site-specific installations investigating pessimistic and optimistic perspectives.

The catalog, designed by Jon Sueda and Sophine Lim, also includes historical background on KSW, artist information, and documentation of Christine Wong Yap’s exhibition of reproductions of KSW posters. The incorporation of artwork documentation, exhibition analysis, transcription of community dialogue, and historical background makes the Activist Imagination catalog an unprecedented, compelling, and significant source book for anyone interested in the intersection of art and community, as well as for anyone interested in art or community in general.

The Activist Imagination exhibition runs February 29 - May 24, 2008, at KSW's space180, and is part of KSW's Activist Imagination program.

Date & Time: Saturday, May 24, 2008; 6.30 - 9pm

Location: Kearny Street Workshop's space180, 180 Capp Street, 3rd Floor, @ 17th Street, San Francisco

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Above: Catalog graphic by Jon Sueda and Sophine Lim

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.

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About the Artists
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

About Kearny Street Workshop
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

Press and high-resolution images available at:

Added to the calendar on Thu, May 8, 2008 2:47PM
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