On the Ground

Taha Belal, Gaye Chan, Sofia Cordova, Sergio De La Torre, Malak Helmy, Juan Luna-Avin, Jerome Reyes, Rene Yung

On the Ground

On the Ground is curated by SoEx Curatorial Committee member, Weston Teruya. On the Ground presents new work arising from artists’ relationship to particular localities.

San Francisco. O’ahu. Cairo. The North coast of Egypt. Tijuana. Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey and Queretaro. The artists in On the Ground build from the specific codes and nuances of these places, creating their own narratives and gestures that begin to reveal or reimagine their communities. Whether through community engagement, historical research, musical performance or language, each artist delves into a specific facet of a site’s cultural structure. While each artist has taken his or her own approach to interpreting and dissecting a locality, all of their projects emerge from an honest reflection on the terms and textures of their respective sites. From the particularities of each community, they help to build a sense of differences and shared dynamics globally and locally.

Artists' Projects

Taha Belal presents Advertisements: a series of Arabic exhibition announcements modeled after those found in prominent art world magazines to imagine a thriving and high-profile arts scene in Cairo.

Gaye Chan's installation, Free Grindz, extends her ongoing Eating In Public project on O’ahu by documenting the freely available edible weeds through the island.

Through her performative alter-ego, Chu Cha Santamaria, Sofia Cordova creates an installation and debut LP that hints at the complications of Puerto Rican diasporic identity, the history of colonialism in the region and the liberating possibilities of club music.

In a mysterious but foreboding sequence, Sergio De La Torre’s Nuevo Dragon City depicts six Chinese-Mexican youth slowly barricading themselves in an empty Tijuana storefront in an act that hints at the historic marginalization and underground survival of the Chinese community in Mexico.

Malak Helmy’s Statements from the Compound draws on both location (the North Coast of Egypt) and language, capturing the changing character of a place through a multi-stage translation into a sculptural installation.

Juan Luna-Avin's exploration of punk music maps a chronological timeline of bands from Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey and Queretaro complemented by the deejay/selector’s interwoven mass of loving details including imagined album covers, a custom playlist and gig flyers.

Jerome Reyes excavates the ghostly histories tied to the former Mabuhay and Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco to create Flash Mab, a pair of drawings and accompanying audio piece that explore the social and political movements surrounding both spaces.

In Whereas-A Declaration of Place, Rene Yung and StoryLab use the language of legal documentation to engage the neighborhood around Southern Exposure in creating collective statements of belonging and to negotiate a future together.