Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Must See Exhibition: Artists Respond to San Francisco’s Black Exodus

by Gregg Chadwick

Currently on display at the Thacher Gallery at USF is the powerful exhibition Hiraeth: The 3.9 Collective Searches for Home

Abhi Singh on the KQED Arts page explains the origins of the exhibition:

"San Francisco’s Fillmore district was once a vibrant African American community, known as 'the Harlem of the West.'  But in recent decades the Fillmore — like San Francisco as a whole — has witnessed a startling black exodus.  A group of artists known as the 3.9 Art Collective are responding with work that both reminds us of San Francisco’s more diverse  past and expresses their resistance to present trends. Their name comes from the percentage of African Americans that some predict will remain in the city by the time the next census takes place, in 2020.
 The Welsh word Hiraeth roughly translates to a longing for a far-off home — one that may not even exist or has been changed by time or idealized by memory."

Corie Schwabenland in the San Francisco Foghorn writes:

"The collective started with a discussion between two East Coast-to-SF transplants, says 3.9 co-founder William Rhodes. When Rhodes, originally from Baltimore, and fellow artist Nancy Cato shared their perceptions about San Francisco after living in the city for a respective seven and twenty years, they came to a striking conclusion:

'We really just felt there was a huge disparity when it comes to wealth, and very few variations of African Americans: You see a lot of African Americans that are homeless; you do not see a lot of African Americans living in San Francisco that are middle class or working class,” says Rhodes. 'It became a concern for us, and we decided that, since we’re both artists, to try to figure out a way to talk about these issues through our art and form a collective.'”

The 3.9 Collective’s exhibition, Hiraeth: the 3.9 Collective Searches for Home is a must see exhibition that examines the issues of displacement, gentrification, wealth disparity and racial relations.

The 3.9 Collective’s exhibition, Hiraeth: the 3.9 Collective Searches for Home is on exhibit through April 21, 2015 at the University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery and will feature a closing event with Rodney Ewing from 5:30-7:30p.m. on April 21st in the Thacher Gallery. 

For more information, contact jvgabrielle@usfca.edu or visit  http://www.usfca.edu/library/thacher/

Artists in the 3.9 Collective are responding to San Francisco’s dramatic loss of African American citizens with work that both reminds us of the city’s vibrantly diverse past and expresses resistance to present trends.

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