“Hungry Ghosts” Art Exhibit to Feature AAPI Artists & Explore “Personal and Collective Struggle”


I wake up almost every day wishing I lived in California — and not just because of the sun (and the drought) — but also because it is one of the few beating hearts of AAPI cultural and political life; I’m always bummed when I find out about an awesome event or exhibit that I can’t attend because I live elsewhere in the country.

One such event is Hungry Ghosts, the latest art exhibit by the Asian American Women’s Artists Association (AAWAA), a 25-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the work of Asian American women artists. Hungry Ghosts opens tomorrow (April 2nd) in San Francisco in partnership with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) and Manilatown Heritage Foundation.

Hungry Ghosts will feature AAPI artists using art to explore “personal and collective struggles”, and how these unconfronted traumas can emerge in the public consciousness in often damaging ways.

Situated in the historic I-Hotel, Hungry Ghosts features the work of emerging and established Asian American and Pacific Islander artists of all genders from around the country. Jumping off from the traditional concept of “Hungry Ghosts” — typically lost or unhappy spirits known as agwi (Korean), ègu? (Chinese), gaki (Japanese), ma doi (Vietnamese), or preta (Sanskrit) — the Hungry Ghosts exhibition explores the way unresolved personal and collective struggles, often reemerging into public consciousness in overtly violent or subtle ways, continue to haunt us today. Among the work featured in the exhibition will be Juliana kang Robinson’s meticulously rendered ink, gouache, and collage paintings of solemn bears traveling upon a sea of bones, alluding to the ongoing conflict between North and South Korea.

In addition to art, film, performance and literary works, Hungry Ghotss will feature a pop-up shop featuring affordable artwork by Hungry Ghosts artists and a wishing wall public art installation.

I last wrote about AAWAA in relation to their partnership with other San Francisco area Asian American groups to create an exhibit celebrating the life and work of art icon Bernice BingHungry Ghosts sounds like another necessary and fascinating exhibit; I strongly encourage all of you in the Bay Area to attend.

Hungry Ghosts opens April 2nd (tomorrow), at the I-Hotel Manilatown Center Gallery, and will be open to the public on Wednesdays-Sundays from 1-6pm until it closes on April 29th. An opening reception will be held tomorrow (April 2nd) from 6pm-9pm and a closing reception, potluck and reading will be held on April 29th, also from 6pm-9pm. The gallery and both opening and closing receptions are free and open to the public.

Mark your calendars, folks! Additional information on Hungry Ghosts is available through the exhibit’s Facebook event page. For more information on AAWAA, check out the group’s website at aawaa.net.

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