Migrating Identities

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The Young Man Was (Part 1: United Red Army), 2011-2012, video still Film, 70 Min. © Courtesy of the Artist and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Migrating Identities

701 Mission St.
94103 San Francisco

June 28th, 2013 - September 29th, 2013
Opening: June 28th, 2013 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
Thu-Sat: noon-8pm; Sun: noon-6pm; First Tuesdays of the month (FREE) 12-8; Summer Hours (May 28 – Aug 31) include Wed 12-6 PM
photography, mixed-media, video-art


In this exhibition, eight artists—Ala Ebtekar, Michelle Dizon, Naeem Mohaiemen, Meleko Mokgosi, Wangechi Mutu, Yamini Nayar, Ishmael Randall Weeks, and Saya Woolfalk—actively negotiate their relationships with two or more different cultures and the influence on their individual lives. Collectively, they have connections to such diverse countries as Bangladesh, Botswana, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Peru, and the Philippines. Though all are currently based in the United States, they represent a variety of emigrant experiences---those who emigrated to the U.S. as children and those who emigrated as adults; those who are first generation citizens and those who both live and work in the U.S. and elsewhere. The work of these artists, all of whom are in their late 30s and early 40s, forms a sampling of a generation’s response to the role of cultural diversity in the U.S. Guided by their ability to move fluidly between cultures, and drawing from the uniqueness of their individual journeys, these artists reveal the ways in which their identities have been transformed by the confluence of mobility, cultural retention, and personal history.

Inherent in their shared condition of straddling multiple identities is the artists’ ability to translate culture as it relates to time and space, as well as to illustrate the ever-present influence of history. Crafting entirely new identities from the confluence of mobility, cultural retention, and investigations into their pasts, they adapt their internal and social resources to the uniqueness of their individual journeys and use their fluidity of movement from one culture to another as the basis for their art-making. Their art expresses their personal identities by embracing cultural transition, material relocation, or the transmigration of things.