Asian American Women Artists’ Exhibition at SOMArts

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) and Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) are joining forces to present the politically charged, high-impact exhibition “underCurrents and the Quest for Space,” for the United States of Asian America Festival.

The exhibition opened May 2 and continues through May 25 at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th and 9th streets), San Francisco. Admission to the exhibition and programs are free.

Featured artists: Salma Arastu, Jung Ran Bae, Michele Benzamin-Miki, Manon Bogerd-Wada, Mitsuko Brooks, Karen Chew, Samantha Chundur, Shari Arai DeBoer, Reiko Fujii, Kate Hers, Zilka Joseph, Kay Kang, Miyang Kim, Alexandra Lee, Mido Lee, Brenda Louie, Li Ma, Choppy Oshiro, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Yoshie Sakai, Pallavi Sharma, Cindy Shih, Judy Shintani, Shizue Seigel, Valerie Soe, Dao Strom, Cynthia Tom, Julie Thi Underhill, Laura Wong, Leslie Zeitler, Stella Zheng, Xiaojie Zheng.

Curated by Linda Inson Choy, international Asian and Asian American art curator. Jurors: Jay Xu, director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and Mary-Ann Milford, professor of art history at Mills College in Oakland.

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 12 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a poetry reading will be held on Wednesday, May 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. With May-lee Chai, journalist and author of such books as “Hapa Girl” and “Dragon Chica,” serving as curator, activist poets will read their original poems in reaction to specific art pieces, challenging the status quo and proposing new aesthetic spaces. The reading, which will take place in front of the art piece that inspired each poet, will question concepts and assumptions of gender, race, class, nationality, and the constructed femininity used to silence Asian American women throughout history.

Featured poets: Amy K. Bell, Susan Calvillo, Ploy Pirapokin, Shobha Rao, Shizue Seigel, Bory Thach, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang.

A panel discussion will be held on Saturday, May 25, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Asian American Women Artists Association is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to ensuring the visibility and documentation of Asian American women in the arts. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational programs, it offers thought-provoking perspectives that challenge societal assumptions and promote dialogue. www.aawaa.net

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center supports and produces multi-disciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asian Pacific Islanders living in the United States. “undercurrents” is featured as part of APICC’s 16th annual United States of Asian America Festival at SOMArts Cultural Center. www.apiculturalcenter.org

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