Voice a Wild Dream: Moments in Asian American Art and Activism, 1968-2022 highlights collectives of Asian American artists and activists and their work toward social change over the past six decades. Sharpened by a recent interest among artists in remaking systems in ways that harken back to the revolutionary impulses of the late 1960's, many exhibitions and publications trace the lineages of feminist, queer, black, and Chicanx arts and activism; however, the story intertwining strands of art, activism, and community aid is significantly less visible within the Asian American community.
Voice a Wild Dream traces connections—both literal and philosophical—between Asian American collectives that intersected art and community service in past decades and their relationship to current art and mutual aid collectives today. By centering artists and their work in a conversation about community care, the exhibition illuminates the power of the artistic act to catalyze belonging, participation, and, most crucially, intersectional connection.
The exhibition borrows its title from traci kato-kiriyama’s poem “Letters to Taz - on meeting (after Taz Ahmed’s ‘If Our Grandparents Could Meet’),” included in their recent publication Navigating With(out) Instruments. kato-kiriyama imagines a shared moment between the two poet activists’ grandparents and the solidarity that they might share in their hope for the future.
Featuring historical, archival and contemporary works, the exhibition considers an expansive notion of artists’ roles in cultural work, incorporating zine culture, grassroots organizing, non-profit art spaces, and self-organized networks as equally important participants in an effort to realign our social relations. Focusing on Los Angeles and New York and the flow of people and ideas between them, the exhibition takes a wide view of cultural production to include groups grounded in Asian American defined communities.
Exhibiting collectives include: Auntie Sewing Squad, Basement Workshop, Chinatown Art Brigade, Giant Robot, GIDRA, Godzilla, the Linda Lindas, Stop DiscriminAsian, and The W.O.W. Project.
The exhibition is curated by Kris Kuramitsu, Fall 2022 Professor of the Practice at Occidental College and Senior Curator at Large of the Mistake Room.