Loving Blackness

ARTISTS: Mequitta Ahuja | Elia Alba | Tomie Arai | Indrani Ashe | Sonia E. Barrett & Shannon Lewis | Kamal Badhey | Alexis Callender | Emily Chow Bluck & Aletheia Shin | Priyanka Dasgupta & Chad Marshall | Colette Fu | Geeta Gandbhir | Amanda Kemp | Leon Sun | Francis Wong & Michael Jamanis | Tracy Keza/Studio Revolt | Sarah Khan | Shaun Leonardo | Indrani Nayar-Gall | Meei Ling Ng | Tammy Nguyen | kate-hers RHEE | Dread Scott | Shahzia Sikander

February 3 – April 21, 2017 | Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm

Black and Asian communities have coexisted side by side across the world for centuries. Our history includes a shared experience of indentured servitude and slavery in the Caribbean islands, the co-mingling of Bengali’s and Afro-Latino’s in Harlem and on the streets of London that led to the Black and Asian arts movement in the eighties. It is fraught with tensions first inflamed by the horrors of colonialism and has now been transformed into a tangled web of inequities, when 3,000 Chinese supporters of Officer Liang faced off 15,000 Black Lives Matter protestors demanding justice for Akai Gurley on the streets of New York last year. This historic friction has provided opportunities for solidarity, and increasingly we are seeing Asian individuals and organizations coming out in support of Black Lives Matter while acknowledging our collective debt to the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement in gaining liberties.

Grounded in Asian Arts Initiative’s own history of being founded in response to racial tensions between Black and Asian communities, and prompted by ongoing instances of systemic injustice and anti-racism organizing efforts, over 20 artists explore moments of tension and solidarity between and among our communities through painting, photography, sculpture, and video.

Related Events

  • Opening Reception: First Friday, February 3, 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Real Soul: A jazz and poetry performance: Sunday, February 5, 2 p.m.
  • Race, Motherhood, & Creativity: A conversation among artists: First Friday, March 3, 7 p.m.


Asian Arts Initiative is designed as a mobility accessible facility, with access to all public floors and spaces, and seating accommodations for programmed events. Both non-gendered and individually isolating restrooms are available on each floor, all equipped with changing stations. If contacted in advance, we will make every attempt to fulfill requests for reasonable accommodations such as vision/hearing auxiliary aids and cognitive disability guides. Please note: Due to most events being attended by the general public, we cannot guarantee accommodations for those with fragrance sensitivities. AAI is a family-friendly multigenerational space.

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