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Live painting by Unification Theory
featuring special guest painters Favianna Rodriguez and Akiko Bharoocha
and live screen printing posters by the YO! WHAT HAPPENED TO PEACE crew
with DJ Phyz Ed [spinning Hip Hop jams]
and live music by Lonnie Marshall and the Giddy-Up Players [Nutmeg-Funk!]
Saturday January 31, 2009
6pm to 9pm
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
Unification Theory: on the One: the art exhibition experience will feature paintings created live at various nightclubs, museums and music festivals, all created alongside DJs and musicians including: George Clinton/P-Funk, quartzhead, Quetzal, Build An Ark, Harleigh Cole, Weapon of Choice, DJ Nomadico, DJ Joy Fanatic, DJ Frosty and others. The exhibition will also include works created with special guest painters. The on the One art exhibition will run January 8 through January 31, 2009.
ABOUT UNIFICATION THEORY:
Unification Theory is an improvisational live painting group of visual artists who paint live with Funk, Jazz, Techno, Hip Hop musicians and DJs. Core members include visual artist Overton Loyd (from legendary Funk band Parliament-Funkadelic), renown graffiti artist Man One and visual artist/writer Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca. Guest painters that perform with Unification Theory include Ritzy Periwinkle, Favianna Rodriguez, John Carr, Chaz Bojorquez and others.
For more info, please see: http://www.crewest.com/artists/utheory.html
110 Winston St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 627-8272 phone
[in Downtown Los Angeles Gallery Row]
Just got off a phone call with Irwin Oostindie, an organizer and cultural worker from Vancouver, Canada, who will be part of the group hosting me in early March of this year. I will be visiting Vancouver from March 5-9th thanks to Teresa Marshall, who invited me to give a talk about art activism and developing community centered art spaces in low income communities. I'm tremendously excited about heading to Vancouver because of the issues the city is facing. As many of you know, Vancouver will be home to the 2010 Olympics. The coming of the Olympics usually means that cities begin "clean up" campaigns in which they prioritize high end development at the cost of the people living in the city itself. This is true of Vancouver as well.
Irwin described to me what is known as the "Four Blocks of Hell," in the Eastside of Vancouver. This is a desperately poor area, with a pool of social ills resulting from failed government policies, violence against women, colonialism, and a lack of services for mental health patients, to name a few. This is where he and a number of cultural organizations are based out of. Most of the people living in this area are First Nation people, known in the U.S. as Native peoples.
The neighborhood is now being massively gentrified for the 2010 Olympics. But artists and organizers are stading up and developing a cultural and communications infrastrucutre that will allow them to have their own voice. I will be participating this movement and it's a tremendous honor for me.
As part of my visit, I will be doing some events as part of the Sistahood Celebration! In recognition of International Women’s Day, The 9th Annual Sistahood
Celebration is a multidisplinary month-long celebration that features
local, national and international women and gender-diverse artists
dedicated to creative excellence and positive social change.Throughout the month of March, Sistahood events feature everything from
media arts to burlesque, spoken word to performance art, culinary arts
to hip hop. In 2009, the theme will be Future Ancestors-
looking ahead to build a better future, while honouring the experiences
of our past. All of the festival events will focus on issues of
environmental and social sustainability, and how art can work as a
community development tool to design long-term solutions.
I will also be collaborating with some VJ's during an event called Fearless Mobile City, a two-way social media system for marginalized residents and artists of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). It is an interactive communication system that uses Mobile Muse 3’s technology platform, a free wireless mesh network, distribution and training with mobile handsets, and live screens in public spaces.
I ran into a good article in the NY Times yesterday about how Americans for the Arts are pushing for Obama to include artists in his economic plan.
“We wanted to make sure arts were not left out of the recovery,” said Robert L. Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, a national lobbying group. “The artist’s paycheck is every bit as important as the steelworker’s paycheck or the autoworker’s paycheck.”
There is also a petition initiated by Quincy Jones calling on Obama to establish a Minister of Culture or a Secretary of Culture. Many countries actually have this, including Mexico and Cuba. Sign here
I will be having an art opening and awesome reception this Saturday, January 24th.
POLITICAL GRAPHICS BY FAVIANNA RODRIGUEZ
IN CELEBRATION OF A NEW ERA
Sat, Jan 24, ‘09 @ 7 PM
Fun People, Great Drinks, Salsa & 80's Music
I'm very excited to be working with Bryant Terry, eco chef, food justice activist, and author of the forthcoming Vegan Soul Kitchen (VSK): Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (Da Capo/Perseus March 2009). We will be doing some posters about Food Justice in February.
For the past eight years, Bryant has worked to build a more just and sustainable food system and has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity. His interest in cooking, farming, and community health can be traced back to his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, where his grandparents inspired him to grow, prepare, and appreciate good food.
You can check out Bryant on this video, click here.
I've curated a show for Obama's inauguration, which you can see tomorrow at the Inauguration West celebration at the Metreon City View Terrace in San Francisco, CA. The show includes 18 artists: Jesus Barraza, Mr. Brainwash, Joe Bravo, Tony Carraza, Melanie Cervantes, James Gayles, Ira Hawkins, Keba Konte, Henry Liu, Josh MacPhee, Minty Fresh Prints, Judy North, Michelle Ortiz, Favianna Rodriguez, Josue Rojas, TaSin Sabir, Eva Silverman, and ZOLTRON
You can come see the exhibit at tomorrow's event. Get more info by clicking here
I just completed the curatorial statement for the show. I must admit I was not feeling excited about this inauguration because of the straight up genocide happening in Gaza, and here in Oakland with the killing of Oscar Grant which took place in my neighborhood. I have been experiencing mixed feelings about Obama, but after a conversation with a good friend, I have realized that I can make a better judgement after he has served for about 120 days. Also, the reality is that people, not politicians, bring about social change. So it is important for artists activists to continue doing the work we do, to push people to critique their daily reality, and work to transform it.
I will post images of the show after tomorrow. I also plan on posting the new poster I did about Divesting in Israel.
Art is a Hammer
CURATORIAL STATEMENT: There has never been a movement for social change without the arts being central to its impact. It is through art that one can build upon the power of creation and expression to encourage new ways of thinking – sparking commitment, promoting ideals, and eliciting action. The presidential campaign that carried Barack Obama to victory marked a shift in popular consciousness, a rejection of politics-as-usual, and a spark to participate in the formation of a people-centered democracy. This exhibition centers on the national grassroots movements that helped shift the country toward a new future. It centers on Barack Obama, the organizer, the leader, and now 44th President of the United States. It centers on the key issues of his platform, including housing, education, workers’ rights, Green jobs, equal access, LGBT rights, and an end to the Iraq War. And finally, the exhibition centers on those who use their art as a political act, a measured effort to facilitate and participate in social change. Transmitting and promoting the ideals, the hopes, and the dreams of millions, who have dared to raise their voices, is the best role for the artist today. Whatever your political persuasion, your age or background, place or country of residence, or profession – the victory of Barack Obama inspired the world and holds lessons for all of us.
- Favianna Rodriguez, Curator
As you may notice from posts and photos, Japan is one of those very dear places in my heart. For a number of reasons, some of them cultural, its not customary to see as many people protesting as you would in Western countries. My intention is not to sound stereotypical. Japan is a very different place from the United States, Latin America and Europe. Karen Nakamura describes is at a "a mingling of tradition and modernity, an apparently homogenous nation. Japan likes to imagine itself a "tiny island stuck in a hostile sea." In Japan, there is not the same sense of minority identity or of social protest you see in other countries." That said, when there IS a protest in Japan, thats a sign that people are upset, disappointed, and have had enough.
This article came out today in the Japan Times:
Activists hold rally in Tokyo
By KAZUAKI NAGATA
As the number of victims continues to climb in Gaza, a crowd of more than 1,500 people rallied in Tokyo on Saturday to call for an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn area.
Click here to read more...
I have recently been asked about why it is that I dislike Shepard Fairey. Its actually not that I dislike Shepard as a person, its more that I have a big problem with his practices. I find them to be unethical and I believe that the political spectrum of people trying to make social change in the world will ultimately not benefit from his art. I believe that as artists and activists, we should be open about critiquing each other and open to changing how it is that we do things. That is what movements did before us .The Black Panthers consistently criticized each other in order to make assessments, and grow, as people, as an organization, and as a movement. We should never be closed to critique because in doing so we are doing ourselves a disservice. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to Shepard about my critiques, but the word on the street is that he does not like to debate about this stuff. Again, I have to say that this is not a personal attack, Shepard is actually in a book I co-edited with Josh MacPhee, Reproduce and Revolt, and it's not my intention to smear him nor censor him. Rather, my intention is to provide a look at his practices from the perspective a woman of color, an artist activist, and a person who thinks our capitalist system is very flawed.
Today a friend shared an article which you can read by clicking here. The title of the article is "Consumers of the World Unite," based on the phrase, "Workers of the World, Unite!" The title itself says alot of Fairey's practices, which is, that he commodifies political movements with the intention of making HUGE profits from them. Read the article and judge for yourself. It's sad to me that me that in our ultra consumer world, EVERYTHING is up for grabs when it's about profit. Very similar to how Hip Hop started in our communities, was even illegal in some forms, then repurposed, and is now sold back to us, by the very forces that also put our people in jail, deport our families, and push for bail outs in which the people ultimately pay the price. The article starts like this:
"SHOPPING, these days, is a political act. If you are brave enough to buy a $2,000 Prada handbag, you might rationalize that you are helping to stimulate the economy. Solidarity, people!"
Read more about Shepard Fairey's practices:
This article here was researched by myself and many others:
This article here was written by my fellow co-editor, Josh MacPhee:
This article was written originally for release in Mother Jones, but Mother Jones then refused to run it, and then instead ran a very pro-Fairey piece:
Here is an open letter to Shepard from a powerful sister who works at KPFK, Aura Bogado.