No More Hiroshimas, No More War

No More Hiroshimas, No More War

Lewis Suzuki, 1963 (poster image courtesy of Lincoln Cushing/Docs Populi)

Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger

Jim Dong, 1972 (digital print image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

Tai-chi on the Rooftop

Tai-chi on the Rooftop

Jim Dong, 1973 (digital print image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

Looking Back at Galileo High School

Looking Back at Galileo High School

Leland Wong, 1974 (digital poster image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

The Masses Are the Makers of History

The Masses Are the Makers of History

Artist unknown, 1974 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Indochina Summer

Indochina Summer

Artist unknown, date unknown (courtesy of Pam Tau Lee)

Take Up the Struggle

Take Up the Struggle

J-town Collective, with the Committee Against Nihonmachi Evictions, 1977 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Pre-War Produce Market

Pre-War Produce Market

Rich Tokeshi, 1977 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Unity

Unity

Leon Sun, 1980 (courtesy of the artist)

Komix

Komix

Ed Badajos, date unknown (poster image courtesy of Lincoln Cushing/Docs Populi)

Song for a Nisei Fisherman

Song for a Nisei Fisherman

Chester Yoshida, 1980 (courtesy of Leon Sun/Community Asian Art & Media Project archives)

A Thousand Cranes

A Thousand Cranes

Leland Wong, 1980 (digital poster image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

Paper Angels

Paper Angels

Leland Wong, 1980 (digital poster image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

She Sews in a Sweatshop

She Sews in a Sweatshop

Stephanie Lowe, 1980 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Issei Women

Issei Women

Gail Aratani, 1981 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Justice for Vincent Chin

Justice for Vincent Chin

Stephanie Lowe, 1982 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Asian American Jazz Festival

Asian American Jazz Festival

Zand Gee, 1982 (courtesy of the artist)

A Future for Our Children

A Future for Our Children

Nancy Hom, 1985 (digital print image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

Celebration of the Spirit

Celebration of the Spirit

Nancy Hom, 1985 (digital print image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

6th Asian American Jazz Festival

6th Asian American Jazz Festival

Zand Gee, 1987 (courtesy of the artist)

Progressions

Progressions

Wes Senzaki, 1992 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Botong, Weaver of Dreams

Botong, Weaver of Dreams

Carlos V. Francisco, 1992 (poster image courtesy of Lincoln Cushing/Docs Populi)

Remembering Malcolm

Remembering Malcolm

Leon Sun, 1992 (courtesy of the artist)

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Rich Tokeshi, 1994 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

No More Violence Against Asians

No More Violence Against Asians

Nancy Hom, 1996 (digital poster image courtesy of Choppy Oshiro)

A Grain of Sand

A Grain of Sand

Leland Wong, 1997 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Day of Remembrance

Day of Remembrance

David Monkawa, 2002 (courtesy of the artist)

Personal Justice Denied The Legacy Continues

Personal Justice Denied The Legacy Continues

Rich Tokeshi, 1998 (courtesy of Japantown Art & Media Workshop archives/National Japanese American Historical Society)

Now and Forever

Now and Forever

Leon Sun, 2005 (courtesy of the artist)

Starfish

Starfish

KaYan Cheung, 2014 (courtesy of the artist)

Don't Flip

Don't Flip

Youth MOJO screenprinting workshop / Chinese Progressive Association, 2014 (courtesy of Chinese Progressive Association)

RECLAIMING
OUR ROOTS

Silkscreened Posters 
from the Movement
1963-2014

 

Screenprinted poster art was an integral part of the Asian American Movement. As a medium, it was almost synonymous with political expression, with “political” being broadly defined. It brought together artists of different mediums, such as photography, drawing, and graphic design. The final production process itself required teamwork and collective action. Screenprinting was affordable and accessible to both experienced and emerging artists. It brought people together and was embraced by the communities in which the artists and workshops were based.

 

The artwork drew inspiration from many sources – from the cultures we inherited from our respective motherlands and from the direct experience of our community elders in the U. S. We drew freely from each other’s cultures within the Asian communities and from without. Chicano/Latino artists were a major influence and inspiration. Anti-war, Civil Rights, Black Liberation and women’s struggles informed much of our politics. While there was always lively debate reflecting different social perspectives, there was a pervasive sense of cultural democracy and Third World, working class solidarity.

 

During this period the San Francisco Bay Area had three screenprinting workshops where the bulk of these posters were printed: Kearny Street Workshop (KSW), Japantown Art & Media Workshop (JAM Wksp) and the Community Asian Art & Media Project (CAAMP). KSW and JAM Wksp were located in San Francisco’s Chinatown-Manilatown and Japantown, respectively. CAAMP, an offshoot of JAM Wksp, was based in Oakland Chinatown. 

 

This exhibit does not claim to project a comprehensive or definitive narrative of the Asian American Movement. The small sampling of posters is only meant to give a glimpse into the issues of the times and how artists gave voice to them. Representation of some important events is notably absent. For practical reasons we limited the scope of this modest exhibit to silkscreened posters from the San Francisco Bay Area, but a couple of exceptions were made to show the range of topics that Asian American artists addressed.* Acquisition has been difficult because many of the posters were not widely seen as collector items in their time and have presumably been lost. As the exhibit moves online, it will expand and diversify over time, with input from many of the artists themselves.

 

Leon Sun

April, 2015

* Lewis Suzuki’s and David Monkawa’s posters were offset printed. David Monkawa is a Los Angeles artist.

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