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The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center begins their latest celebration of culture and art and intersectionality this weekend with Crosslines. Since the next two days are going to be jam packed with more exhibitions, performances, and thoughtful conversations than you could ever hope to attend, we’ve spoken with some of the artists we’re most excited about the exhibits they’re hyped about (and their own art of course).

Desirée Venn Frederic of nomad yard collectiv – (white%)

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Who inspires you?

I am ever inspired by Homi Bhabha, his skillful writing which evoke the most vivid imagery. Words paint my world.

Tell me about your exhibit.

“(white%)” is an installation accompanied by a visual film that combines contemporary ethnographic filmmaking, animation and a wide range of found footage and archival visual materials examining the parallel between immigration, detention, concentration camps, incarceration, and everyday life presented in collaboration with tony walker.

What exhibit / performance / talk are you most excited for? 

The layers of it all – imagine a space where dialogue is upheld from the purview, the inner-standing, the context and experiences of Adrianne Russell and Aleia Brown’s work with #MuseumsRespondToFerguson in company with Gregg Deal’s provocative displays on appropriation and The People’s Kitchen Collective with Sita Bhaumik, Jocelyn Jackson and Saqib Keval and Frank Chi; it’s a layered, dense, lush space. I look forward to it all separately and collectively.

Spaces like these provide an intersectional optic on social movement struggles creating insurgent identities that are dynamic and dialogic, more fluid and flexible than single-axis approaches. The artists and scholars of Crosslines are advocating radical projects to dismantle xenophobia, settler colonialism, hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, and xenophobia.

Intersectionality is so important, what kind of events focused on it would you like to see in the future? 

Crosslines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality is groundbreaking. The vision Curator Adriel Luis and his team have set forth stand as a testament to the vitality of the local, national and international creative community, the potential for collaboration it provides, and the manifold ways intersectionality can be understood, practiced and presented. However, this can exist outside of museums. It is my belief that every business and industry must emphasize inclusion. Spaces and experiences that are not solely accessible for the privileged, an all-too-familiar dynamic. 

Dawne Langford of Quota – On Sight/On Site

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Who inspires you?

I am inspired in equal parts by people that are trailblazers, building a successful momentum in their chosen fields, as I am by those who have overcome extenuating circumstances while navigating oppressive systems. People that are in tune with their higher purpose and living truthfully inspire others to do so.

What exhibit / performance / talk are you most excited for?

Honestly, all of the programming and exhibits participating in Crosslines are exciting and of great interest to me. I will say that I am quite eager to see what Gregg Deal is going to do. There is frequently so much regulation around native driven narrative that is quite shocking and from endless sources. I know that Gregg is a highly adaptive artist and an outspoken activist with a killer sense of humor.

A lot of the pieces marry light subjects (carnival games! comic books!) with incredibly dark and complex topics (inequality, Japanese internment camps), how are you able to strike that balance?

The violence of erased accomplishments, history, and voices can be addressed by “rising above it” … highlighting that our histories and shared experience goes back much further and is bigger than viewing the world through the prism of oppression utilizing highly conceptual designs and inspiration from an entirely macro and metaphysical source.

Intersectionality is so important, what kind of events focused on it would you like to see in the future?

I would like to see some intersectional events that are action oriented and solution based around something that needs to be fixed and is somewhat quantifiable. I am becoming more interested in moving the conversation forward into actionable programs, incentives and initiatives.

Sherry San Miguel Meneses of Soul & Ink – KRU 2016: The Artist Collection

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Who inspires you?

Our D.C. creative family is our biggest inspiration right now. The energy that is buzzing around the city is contagious, as we all continue to push forward to show that D.C. is more than what people have always assumed it to be. For example, all of the artists featured in KRU 2016: The Artist Collection, our recently released design collaboration that we’ll be presenting at CrossLines. They each represent a corner stone or subculture of DC that tells another story than just suits and politics. Each of them is a positive force to be reckoned with, outspoken and active in their own community. Our close friend Bill Warrell founder of d.c. space, is a jazz and dc hardcore aficionado. He is still creating art at a furious pace and is so inspiring. Then we’ve got Graham Jackson in the mix – a true underground house head who is using design for social change to cultivate electronic music culture to the area, and of course master muralists CHELOVE and MASPAZ killing it on the street art scene all in the name of peace through art.

What exhibit / performance / talk are you most excited for?

THE NORTH HALL is where its at! There are so many artists we are excited to see, Robert Karimi & the Peoples Cook project, we are obsessed with his lowrider rickshaw, Desiree Von Frederic & Tony Walker’s synesthetic collaboration – I am inspired by her personal journey as well as her aesthetic, Vaimoana Niumeitolu & crew – their huge mandala and film is deep. We can’t wait to see the SUPERWAXX & Roger Shimomura’s collaboration. I’m intrigued by the participatory photography project Hijabs & Hoodies by Tracy Keza and Studio Revolt. The direct parallel is spot on.

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Tell us about your exhibit?
Soul & Ink’s participatory screen-printing projects reshape traditional relationships between art and audiences. Soul & Ink is committed to building communities that give life to printmaking. They engage people of all ages and abilities in the transformative process of screen printing.
Kru 2016: The Artist Collection is an ongoing series in which participants explore screen printing while discovering more about Washington D.C.-based street artists and their many styles. Participating artists CHELOVE and MASPAZ, will also be creating an interactive installation in CrossLines.

A lot of the pieces marry light subjects (carnival games! comic books!) with incredibly dark and complex topics (inequality, Japanese internment camps), how are you able to strike that balance?

We consider all artists participating in KRU 2016: The Artist Collection, to be modern day rebels, renegades, and freedom fighters in their own right adamantly dedicated to manifesting their own destiny, while blazing trails along the way. This collection is an effort to uplift, spotlight and support artists in the DC area. It’s been a rough couple of years for DC artists with rents sky rocketing, galleries closing and artists being displaced. We are working together to #saveDCarts and navigate #agentrifiedDC through use of our skills, artistic expression and fellowship.

Together we are able to represent and celebrate the intersectionality of subcultures and DC history that makes it such a vibrant community today.

Intersectionality is so important, what kind of events focused on it would you like to see in the future?

An Afrocentric Asian event would be a cool concept or how about a cross generational event like seniors and/or kids learning graffiti or street art as art therapy!

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Featured image by @africanist

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