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Art, Cultural Resistance & Transformation

The Moving Art House

By Christine Joy Ferrer

Book Mo/Biblio Guagua event at the Portola Branch Library, July 2015. ©2015 Sibila SavageBlanca Gotchez Melara remembers it well. The potent fragrance of basil, black melons and geraniums adorning Nativity dioramas in her hometown of Santa Ana, El Salvador.

The Nacimientos or Nativities were never just Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus but a more elaborate arrangement of clay, wax, wood, metal, fabric, and beads depicting the Christ birth. The main focus was the replication of a whole town with three-dimensional illustrations from one’s daily life in a variety of scales, symbolizing one’s connection to one’s environment relative to the Nativity. The dioramas could include, among the biblical scenes, figurines of women making tortillas, farmers milk

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Rysing Womyn: Art. Activism. Transformation.

Cat Brooks. Courtesy of blog.oaklandxings.comBy Cat Brooks

My entire life has been dedicated to art and activism. As a racially-mixed child from a broken home full of various substances—I could have ended up anywhere. But in 4th grade, fate landed me in the classroom of Ms. Barbara Gerhardt. I was angry. I was troubled. I was a disturbance in the classroom. Rather than throw me away—as happens to so many Black and Brown young people in our schools—Ms. Gerhardt found a way to channel all of that misdirected energy into something else. She directed me toward a local theater conservatory. My course was set.

I Am San Francisco

By Kheven Lagrone and Jarrel Phillips

We are the San Francisco no one talks about
—James Baldwin

Today, a native Black San Franciscan often hears, “An African American born in San Francisco? I’ve never met one before. You must be one of the few.”

For many of us, the questions conjure up feelings of marginalization and confront us with the reality of losing our homes. Just what does it mean to be a native San Franciscan? In response to this challenge we are creating two public art exhibitions on the theme I Am San Francisco. The first, curated by Kheven LaGrone, is subtitled (Re)Collecting the Home of Native Black San Franciscans, the second, by Jarrel Phillips, is Black Past and Presence.

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Black Past and Presence - Curated by Jarrel Phillips

Part 2. I AM SAN FRANCISCO: Black Past and Presence
City College of San Francisco—Rosenberg Library

April 16 - November 3, 2016
Part of Our San Francisco Spring 2016 Library Exhibitions
3rd & 4th Floors #IAMSF #IAMSANFRANCISCO

I AM SAN FRANCISCO: Black Past and Presence will be shown in the 3rd and 4th floor atrium galleries of the Rosenberg Library of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) at 50 Phelan Avenue from April 16 to November 3, 2016. 

Created and curated by Jarrel Phillips, the exhibit explores how black life presents itself through culture, art and organization, both historically and currently, using visual art, commentary and personal reflections from city residents and community leaders. It features art from the Three Point Nine Collective, an association of black artists, curators, and art writers based in San Francisco whose members include Phillips and Sidney “Sage” Cain.

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Seeds and Soul: Interview with Joana Cruz

Interview with Joana Cruz
Organizer, Seeds & Soul Cultural Exchange and Festival
By Christine Joy Ferrer

On October 24, 2015, in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Dancing Earth and the Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective organized the first ever Seeds & Soul Indigenous Cultural Exchange and Festival at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. The free festival brought together about a thousand people and harnessed the power of the arts and indigenous cultural exchange with Bay Area communities, centered around culture, music, art, food, and relationship-building as tools for social and environmental change. Featured artists and presenters included: Corrina Gould (Indian People Organizing for Change); Leny Strobel (Center for Babaylan Studies); Capoeira Ijexa, Namorados Da Lua, and Bangka Journeys. Joana Cruz is a lead organizer for Seeds & Soul and the operations manager for Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective.

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