In the wake of Trump’s election, Bay Area artists wasted no time producing creative resistance projects. Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo made a shirt and poster design reminding everyone to step up as allies to marginalized people; Stephanie Syjuco created elaborate sewn banners accompanied by a make-your-own guide; and the Yerba Mala Collective published a poem online asking its readers to print out excerpts and disseminate the fighting words far and wide. “These pages have no names,” the poem reads, asserting that the work belongs to anyone who finds them useful in fighting for justice.
Because of the political climate, the Bay Area art scene is surging with artworks that belong to and can be authored by all of us. Rather than producing singular objects, many artists are creating templates for replicable aesthetic disruptions that can be set into motion by two things: resources and participation. Recognizing this exceptional moment for otherwise non-creative citizens to take part in Anti-Trump resistance through easy activist art projects, Holly Meadow-Smith and I conceptualized Anti Lab.
The Anti Lab will be a showcase of creative resistance artworks and resource center for replicating projects that are anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-patriarchy, anti-oppression, and anti-complacency. It will be launched at Gallery 2301 (Telegraph and 23rd St., Oakland) in early April and live through May, 2017. The gallery will be outfitted with free stations for sewing banners, xeroxing and printing posters, screen-printing shirts/flags/patches, pressing pins, and assembling personal information packets — and each will feature examples and templates designed by local artists. There will also be a robust calendar of events featuring everything from film screenings, to cyber-security workshops, to call-your-rep-athons. Oh, and one crucial draw: free coffee.
With Anti Lab, we hope to offer a creative community hub for diverse groups of people to come together and organize change.
Funded by Oakland, CA (March 2017)