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Indybay Feature

Escape From Chinatown 逃離中國城

escapeflyersmall.jpg
Date:
Friday, November 04, 2011
Time:
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Party/Street Party
Organizer/Author:
Isis Hao
Location Details:
High Street Station Cafe, 1303 High Street, Alameda CA 94501

Artist reception for Escape From Chinatown, a photography show exploring cultural identity and the drawbacks of stereotyping other human beings. Featuring the work of local artist and photographer Isis Ming Hao.

Part of a group exhibit featuring the work of Angelita Mireles and Joseph Niles.

Free! There will be food and drinks! Bring your friends and family! Kids are welcome!

At the High Street Station Cafe, 1303 High Street, Alameda CA 94501 on Nov. 4th from 7PM - 9PM.

Artist's Statement:

In my dreams of the apocalypse, I used to find myself wandering the deserted streets of Oakland’s Chinatown. Though the boulevards were quiet, the din of the marketplace still hung in the air. The sidewalks smelled of herbs, Chinese food, and vaguely of human waste. In my dreams I was always looking for a way out; an escape from Chinatown, which was always inescapably a labyrinth. After desperate hours of seeking I would find myself exactly where I started, surrounded by the ghostly din of the market and the smell of urine.

On the surface these dreams were about my conflicted feelings of cultural identity. I was looking for a way out of Chinatown and a way in to the American identity. I soon discovered that the things that I had so desperately wanted to be a part of were empty. This is the same way that I had felt about Chinatown: to me it symbolized the worst of Chinese culture. Gaudy knick-knacks, tacky trinkets: the cheap trappings of a culture paraded as the culture itself.


Using photography, I will explore the concept of escape, not from a cultural identity, but from a distorted inaccurate cultural identity that I came to associate with Chinatown. Using Chinatown itself as a symbol of this cultural ensnarement, each of my pieces portrays a person, caught in the midst of this metaphorical entanglement.


These images are often desolate as they are visual depictions of the tangible isolation that is felt when we categorize or stereotype a person. This act not only isolates them from ourselves but by doing so we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Coupled with this pervading sense of loneliness is an atmosphere of hope. The world is not easily bound by limitations. Like everything else, human beings are always changing, growing, evolving. Life transcends definitions and shatters boundaries.


In my work for this series, I spent many days wandering the streets of both Oakland’s Chinatown and San Francisco’s Chinatown. Though I had long come to terms with my own cultural identity and my childish yearning to fit in, the hours spent among the sights, sounds, and smells of my people changed me; grounded me in some way. I had come full circle. I was back where I started, in Chinatown, but I was no longer looking for a way out.


-Isis Ming Hao

For more info:
http://isishao.webs.com/exhibitions.htm
Added to the calendar on Sat, Aug 6, 2011 6:39PM
§Man Behind Pillar
by Isis Hao
manbehindpillarsmall.jpg
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