New San Francisco Arts Commission Main Gallery Space
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Galleries celebrates the opening of a new, and greatly expanded 3000-square-foot gallery space in the historic War Memorial Veterans Building with the inaugural group exhibition Bring it Home: (Re)Locating Cultural Legacy through the Body, curated by SFAC Galleries Director Meg Shiffler and independent curator Kevin B. Chen. The exhibition presents work from artists representing diverse Bay Area communities, and centers thematically on how these artists grapple with cultural identity and its relationship to the human condition. The public is invited to the Grand Opening Celebration on January 22, 2016, 6-8 p.m. in the new Main Gallery located on the ground floor of the War memorial Veterans Building.
“We are thrilled to open our new SFAC Main Gallery in the War Memorial Veterans Building with an exhibition that features a dynamic group of local artists who reflect the incredible diversity and creative vitality of our region,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny, “For over 40 years, the SFAC Galleries has provided a platform for local artists to engage in a civic dialogue and to creatively explore the issues of our time. We look forward to continuing this important work in this beautiful new space.”
According to exhibition co-curator Kevin Chen, “The exhibition title makes reference to the commonplace idiom “bring home to someone,” a phrase used to make someone understand something more clearly than they did before. The work in the exhibition is positioned to illuminate our collective experiences attempting to reconcile the disparate parts of all of our own histories, customs and traditions in the 21st century.”
The exhibition will feature work by both established and emerging Bay Area artists including Zeina Barakeh, Jeremiah Barber, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Dana Harel, Carolyn Janssen, Summer Mei Ling Lee, Ranu Mukherjee, Ramekon O’Arwisters, Tsherin Sherpa and more. Working in media ranging from painting to digital photography, video to textiles, performance to sculpture, the artists address personal relationships to cultural history and heritage by using and framing the body as the primary form and site of conceptual and artistic exploration. In an attempt to reconcile and bridge differences—such as past and present, historical and contemporary, Eastern and Western, traditional customs and modern conventions, religious and secular—and the ongoing search for grounding and a sense of home, these artists make culture and history highly personal by presenting the body (and often their own body) as a site of inscription and fractured performances. As writer, performer, and participating artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena states, “In fact, our main artwork is our own body, ridden with semiotic, political, ethnographic, cartographic and mythical implications.”
“The human body is how we navigate through the world,” says SFAC Galleries Director and co-curator Meg Shiffler. “It is the fundamental vehicle of lived experience and at the same time serves as a metaphor for the larger sociopolitical body that forms villages, communities and countries.”
Bring it Home: (Re)Locating Cultural Legacy through the Body will showcase how the body can act as a crucial site for the construction and presentation of our social identities and can offer a window to the relationship between people and places as well as history. The artists in the exhibition involve the use, appreciation and knowledge of their own bodies, linking the body and physical movements with the organization of society, customs and the individual psyche. The resulting works represent both intimate viewpoints as well as draw focus to aspects of the human condition.
Bring it Home is generously supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Bring it Home: (Re)Locating Cultural Legacy through the Body
Exhibition Dates: January 22 – April 16, 2016
Opening Celebration: January 22, 2016, 6-8 p.m.