F.T.P: For the People

Shotgun Review

F.T.P: For the People

By Shotgun Reviews May 22, 2016

 Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Ángel Rafael Vázquez-Concepción reviews F.T.P: For the People at Galería de la Raza in San Francisco.

At Galería de la Raza in the Mission District is F.T.P: For the People, inspired by civil rights activist Audre Lorde's essay, “The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House.”1 The exhibition showcases the work of over a dozen visual artists from the Bay Area and beyond, including painting, photography, printmaking, and installation. 

Lorde states that action leading to legitimate social change can never emerge out of the normativity that reinforces a status quo where social and racial inequality are rife—to promote social change, one must empower the colored female, transgender, and queer otherness that would otherwise be cast out and rejected. F.T.P. brilliantly aligns itself with Lorde’s central idea. Especially at stake right now is imagining a future where prejudice and police brutality will cease to be tolerable.

Fanny Aishaa. Elsipogtog, 2003; print based on original oil painting; 36 x 48 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Galería de la Raza, San Francisco. Photo: Henry Pacheco.

Together, the artworks act as an indictment of contemporary manifestations of institutionalized oppression and violence against minority communities. Each artist deploys sharp, targeted criticism towards recent affairs in North America, showing the pain and public defiance of communities that refuse to give in to fear and injustice.

An example is a work by Fanny Aishaa, Elsipogtog (2003), depicting a person holding a feather towards a bird flying overhead in the direction of a militarized police phalanx. The painting symbolizes ecology-minded civil disobedience being met by state-sanctioned brutality. The prescient image was made ten years before the confrontation between the Elsipogtog First Nation and protesters against fracking and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which occurred in May 2013

In his publication “Talking Contemporary Curating,” art historian Terry Smith states, "curators are being called upon to help, to join a worldwide effort to create a commons that will outlast the shocks of globalized capitalism, the resurgence of fundamentalism, and the impacts of climate change."2 Through this exhibition, Galería de la Raza and its leadership prove they are at the forefront of creating and sustaining such commons in San Francisco —and are calling for all constituents of the art system to mobilize for the fight for social justice.

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Ángel Rafael Vázquez-Concepción (b. 1981, Puerto Rico) is an independent curator based in San Francisco, California. In 2015, he obtained a Master’s in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts.

F.T.P: For the People is on view at GalerĂ­a de la Raza, in San Francisco, through June 11, 2016.

Notes

  1. Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Berkeley: Crossing Press, 1984), 110- 114.
  2. Terry Smith,Talking Contemporary Curating (New York: Independent Curators International, 2015), 16.

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