Two Lesbian Artists Offer Art Inspired by Activist Yuri Kocjiyama

Co-Presented by the Asian American Women Artist Association (AAWAA) and Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC), Shifting Movements: Art Inspired by the Life and Activism of Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) is a multimedia exhibition illuminating the legacy of intersectional revolutionary activist Yuri Kochiyama through artworks that highlight the values and themes that guided her, and the incredibly diverse people, struggles, and movements that inspired her throughout a lifetime dedicated to fighting for a more humane and just world.
The exhibition will take place May 4th to 25th, 2017 at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. Artists of all mediums are invited to submit artworks that address key values, themes and milestones from Kochiyama’s prolific and galvanizing life – and how it relates to today’s contemporary context.

The exhibition is open to artists of all color and any gender identification in the United States, 18 years and older.

Shifiting Movements is curated by AAWAA Curator & Exhibitions Manager Michelle A. Lee (Eating Cultures, Hungry Ghosts) and features a jury including Independent Curator Melorra Green and Artist/Visiting Professor from the University of Oregon Margaret Rhee.

Dates: May 4th – May 25th, 2017
                  Location: SOMArts Cultural Center,
Main Gallery, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA

                  Opening Reception: May 4th, 2017, 6pm – 9:00pm

Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation for the Opening Reception. For more information please visit or email

About Yuri Kochiyama
A Japanese American internment survivor who was later instrumental to the Japanese American redress and reparations movement, Yuri Kochiyama was one of the few Asian/Pacific Islander American (API) women activists to achieve national prominence. Living in Oakland and Berkeley from 1999 until her death in 2014, Kochiyama cultivated deep relationships with local academics, activists, artists, incarcerated individuals, and community members through her organizing, speaking, and prolific letter writing, particularly to political prisoners. After moving to Harlem after WWII, Kochiyama immersed herself in the history of Black Resistance, learning from leaders such as Malcolm X, and developing a holistic and intersectional understanding of the civil rights struggles against racism, sexism, and economic disparity. As a result Kochiyama was not only a seminal figure in API history, but was also deeply engaged in African American, Latino, and Native American movements. Although Kochiyama is highly regarded within many activist circles, her story and the breadth of her influence is not generally known, even among Japanese Americans. Kochiyama’s story is part of an overlooked history of cross-cultural activism  and serves as an inspirational model at a time of great cultural and socio-political upheaval.

About the Presenter:
Asian American Women Artists Association 
The Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) is a national non-profit arts organization dedicated to ensuring the visibility and documentation of Asian American women in the arts. Since 1989, AAWAA has been a resource for the arts and academic communities, working to further the recognition of Asian American women artists. Through exhibitions, literary readings, speakers’ bureau, publications, and educational programs, AAWAA offers thought-provoking perspectives that challenge societal assumptions and promote dialogue across cultures and generations. For more information on AAWAA and its mission and programs, please visit Contact AAWAA at 1890 Bryant Street, Suite 302, San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 252-7996, or

Co-Presented By:
 Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center
The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s (APICC) mission is to support and produce multi-disciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asian Pacific Islanders living in the United States. Since 1998, the Center has promoted the artistic and organizational growth of the City’s Asian/Pacific arts community by organizing and presenting the annual United States of Asian America Festival. For more information on APICC and its mission and programs, please visit Contact APICC at 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 829-9467,

Shifting Movements is also funded in part by: National Endowment for the Arts, the RJL Memorial FundSan Francisco Arts Commission, and Grants for the Arts.