Place/Displaced Exhibition, November 20–December 13, 2014


Place/Displaced, presented by SOMArts and Bayview Opera House, invites everyone to the table to explore the role we each play in a changing Bay Area in the present moment, marked by an unprecedented increase in Ellis Act evictions, Black flight and the outmigration caused by an affordability crisis. More than 40 participating artists and groups use their various creative practices to recall and record diasporic histories, reveal complex identities and address issues of cultural preservation. Included artworks and installations envision new possibilities for cities in transition, and the financial and spiritual well-being of their inhabitants.

Heavily influenced by a tenet of South African philosophy Ubuntu, “I am because we are,” SOMArts’ newest staff member, Curator for Inquiry and Impact Melorra Green, has selected for her first exhibition at SOMArts artworks that are deeply social in nature and foster human connection.

“Artists in Place/Displaced express the anger, pain, and sadness of the pillage taking place in our communities and speak out with their brushes, cameras, and bodies. Some utilize technology–– mapping and gaming installations confront the rising cost of living and the displacement of longtime Bay Area residents. Others offer interactive installations and performances that highlight our collective responsibility to remain connected to one another and raise all voices as we face social stratification and a widening class divide.” – Melorra Green, Curator

The opening reception Thursday, November 20, 6–10pm, free admission, features a drum circle led by Kulture Freedom that anyone can join, live performances hosted by American Conservatory Theater’s Stage Coach program, live painting, brief artist talks and interactive installations facilitated by more than 13 participating artists and groups. Scroll down to learn about even more great events!

Several visual artworks in Place/Displaced, including an installation by Ako Jacintho depicting an eviction tag sale, reflect a harsh reality for many Bay area residents, who are experiencing a record number of Ellis Act and no-fault evictions or are struggling against the rising cost of living. Sergio De La Torre will replicate a real eviction letter at billboard scale inside the gallery.


The comic “(H)afrocentric” by Jewels Smith stars a radical black feminist, Naima Pepper, and her friends and family grappling with identities and neighborhoods in flux. Smith’s installation offers larger than life comic figures and a literal soap box where participants can publicly answer questions like, “How would you like to see your neighborhood transformed?” and “What does gentrification feel like to you?” by adding hashtags to images and text they share on Twitter and Instagram.

Cynthia Tom and Cris Matos’s art installation, Alchemy Chapter3: surReal Estate, poses a faux “surreal estate” company that develops ample housing amongst the clouds for creatives, community providers and the socially conscious. The installation includes a large-scale display of the company’s homes for sale (paintings by Tom) and small, floating paper homes suspended from a tree armature. Poetry and lyrics by Matos appear throughout the installation.

Kristine Mays exhibits two figurative wire sculptures that evoke the body language of offering and of supplication, a personification of the power structures at play during this time of economic crisis.

Michael Ross’ “Migration House: Ready to Move” is a quilted house installation that asks how we gather our “cultural belongings” to prepare for migration, what we pull closer to us in preparation for the journey and what is ultimately lost because it cannot travel. An installation by senseofplace LAB features photographic documentation from an ongoing community-based project in which San Francisco residents add physical markers and text-based descriptions of their memories to relevant locations throughout the city.


Rodney Ewing will create a mural sized wall drawing in graphite using a portion of Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish’s poem “Under Siege.” Ewing draws inspiration from Darwish, who consistently offered humanist and universalist messages in his poems despite having witnessed pivotal moments in Palestine’s history marred by brutal oppression, displacement and loss.


Accompanying events include:

Place/Displaced Opening Reception
Friday, November 20, 6–9pm
Visual art opening features live performances & interactive activities and experiences facilitated by more than 13 artists
Click here for more info.

Wake Up the Walls
Friday, December 5, 5:30–8:30pm. Free admission.
Evening of performance and participatory art activities among the art in Place/Displaced and Youth Art Exchange’s Our Changing City
Click here for more info/to RSVP.

Ubuntu: Everyone at the Table
Wednesday, December 10, 7–9pm. Free with RSVP, meal included.
3-course meal uses creativity to inspire action and envision a nurturing and supportive future for art and artists in the Bay Area. Food prepared by The People’s Kitchen.
Click here for more info/to RSVP.


Exhibition Collaborators:
3.9 Art Collective
Bayview Opera House
California College for the Arts Center for Art and Public Life
Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA
Justin Hoover
Ubuntu: Can Art Save a Community?

Live Performances and Activities by:
American Conservatory Theater SF
ArtReach Studios and Gallery
Black Folks…
Impact Hub Oakland
Kulture Freedom
The Museum of African Diaspora Vanguard
Oakland Public Conservatory
The People’s Kitchen
Political Action Committee (PAC)
The Puppet Workshop
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Transitional Age Youth San Francisco
Youth Art Exchange

Exhibiting Artists:
Shalini Agrawal
Body Waves
Anton Belov
Todd Berman
Dylan E. Buffington
Margherita Buzzi
Katherin Canton
Georgia S. Chouteau
Sergio De La Torre
Rodney Ewing
Nina Fabunmi
Farah Q. Faizi
Dania W. Frink
Nick Gomez
Mark Harris
Roy Huerta
Chason M. Ionov
Ako Jacintho
Alexander R. Kahn
Kiss My Black Arts
Shana La Reina
Sequoya A. Lee
Harrison Love
Joanne Ludwig
Stephanie Martinez
Cris Matos
Kristine Mays
Robert A. Morel
Fitu Petaia
Shantre Pinkney
William Rhodes
Tim Roseborough
Michael Ross
Wanda Sabir
Safety First
Yukari Sakura
Ron Saunders
Karen Seneferu
Malik Seneferu
senseofplace LAB
Jewels Smith
Karly R. Stephens
Clark Suprynowicz
Xavier Thompson
Cynthia Tom
Chris Treggiari
Mark LeGrande Trotter
Keith KDub Williams
Wenzhe Xu
Jingtao Zhang

Pictured artwork by Cynthia Tom, Sergio De La Torre, senseofplace LAB