The Arab Liberation Mural / Will To Live (2018) by Art Forces, Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC), and Arab Youth Organizing (AYO) celebrates and honors the lives of six Arab leaders: Rasmea Odeh, Mehdi Ben Barka, Naji Diafullah, Leila Khaled, Basel Al Araj, and Yasser Mortaja. The mural manifests and expresses the resilience and resistance of the Bay Area community to attacks on freedom and liberties of Arab, Muslim, people of color, immigrants and refugees. Wall + Response condemns the ongoing violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Gaza by the state of Israel and stands in solidarity with those fighting occupation and in support of the global movement for the Palestinian right of return.
THE ARAB LIBERATION MURAL / WILL TO LIVE PRINTS
THE ARAB LIBERATION MURAL / WILL TO LIVE EVENT
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Youssef Alaoui is a Moroccan Colombian American. His family and heritage are an endless source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. He has an MFA in Poetics from New College of California. His work has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Big Bridge, 580 Split, Dusie Press, RIVET Journal, Paris Lit Up, The Opiate, and nominated for a Pushcart at Full of Crow. His short story collection “Fiercer Monsters” was published by Nomadic Press of Oakland, CA. His poetry collection “Critics of Mystery Marvel” was published by 2Leaf Press of NYC. www.youssefalaoui.info
Jason Bayani is the author of Locus (Omnidawn Publishing 2019) and Amulet (Write Bloody Publishing 2013). He’s an MFA graduate from Saint Mary’s College, a Kundiman fellow, and works as the artistic director for Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multi-disciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization in the country. His publishing credits include World Literature Today, Muzzle Magazine, Lantern Review, and other publications. Jason performs regularly around the country and debuted his solo theater show “Locus of Control” in 2016 with theatrical runs in San Francisco, New York, and Austin.
Genny Lim is San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate emeritus. Her most recent poetry-music collaboration, Don’t Shoot! Requiem in Black, dedicated to Black Lives Matter, premiered at SF Jazz Center in April 2018 with Marshall Trammell, Francis Wong, and Equipto. Lim’s award-winning play, Paper Angels, was the first Asian American play that aired on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985 and has been produced throughout the U.S., Canada and China. She is author of five poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War, Paper Gods and Rebels, KRA!, La Morte Del Tempo, and co-author of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, winner of the American Book Award and the forthcoming anthology of Senior Asian American memoirs, Window: Glimpses of Our Storied Past.
San Francisco poet Michael Warr is the 2020 Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Awardee. His books include Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (W.W. Norton), The Armageddon of Funk, We Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex. He is a San Francisco Library Laureate and recipient of a Creative Work Fund award for his multimedia project Tracing Poetic Memory, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poetry is translated into Chinese as part of “Two Languages / One Community” a collaborative project with poet and translator Chun Yu. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Art Forces uses community public art and technology, including murals, websites, social and new media, to inspire critical thinking and action. Art Forces moves from the local to the global, from the streets of San Francisco Bay Area to Olympia Washington, to refugee camps of Palestine and Lebanon. The projects make visible histories and relationships that have been obliterated and forgotten; making connections to national and global issues of social justice, borders, precarity, migrations, and decolonization. The artists who worked with Art Forces for The Arab Liberation Mural / Will To Live are Chris Ghazala, Nidal El Khairy, Priya Handa, Susan Greene, and Margaret Marie.
ABOUT THE ARAB RESOURCE ORGANIZING CENTER (AROC) and ARAB YOUTH ORGANIZING (AYO)
The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) is a grassroots organization working to empower and organize our community towards justice and self-determination for all. Recognizing the diversity of experiences and interests within the Arab community, AROC devises a multi-pronged strategy to meet those needs while prioritizing the most marginalized sectors of our constituency to inform our work. AROC envisions powerful and liberated Arab communities living with dignity from here to our homelands and sees the liberation of Arab people inextricably tied to the liberation of all people of color.
Arab Youth Organizing (AYO), is the youth arm of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. AYO is made up of Arab youth ages 14-22 from all over the Bay Area who engage in political education, skill building, and organizing.
ABOUT WALL + RESPONSE
Wall + Response features 16 poets responding to the social/ political/ racial/ justice narratives of four murals on Clarion Alley, curated by CAMP artist and organizer Megan Wilson and poet Maw Shein Win.
- Poets Heather Bourbeau, Aileen Cassinetto, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Chris Stroffolino responding to the mural Justice for Luís D. Góngora Pat by Marina Perez-Wong and Elaine Chu, working with Justice4Luis
- Poets Karla Brundage, Jennifer Hasegawa, Tureeda Mikell, and Kim Shuck responding to the work What We Want! by Emory Douglas/Black Panther Party / remix by CUBA D8, Mace
- Poets Celeste Chan, MK Chavez, Paul Corman-Roberts, and Tim Xonnelly responding to the mural Affordable Housing/Vivienda Asequible by the SF Print Collective working with the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)
- Poets Youssef Alaoui, Jason Bayani, Genny Lim, and Michael Warr responding to the mural The Arab Liberation Mural by Art Forces, Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC), and Arab Youth Organizing (AYO)
The project was originally conceived to culminate in four quarterly public events to be presented on Clarion Alley. However, due to the pandemic the poets will instead be filmed by videographer Mahima Kotian reading their work in front of the murals on Clarion Alley. Kotian will be creating videos for each series that will be presented as part of live online events (of which this is the first). All the events are free and open to the public.
The poets are creating new poems in response to the murals, and will be reading those and other selected works at the events. The specific dates for each of the following events will be announced in the month prior to the event – December, February, May.
Wall + Response is made possible by the generous support of the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
You can read more about CAMP and Wall + Response here.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Megan Wilson is a visual artist, writer, curator, and community organizer based in San Francisco. Wilson has been an artist and core organizer with Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) since 2001. In 2018 she co-directed and co-organized (with Christopher Statton and Nano Warsono) CAMP’s second international exchange and residency project, Bangkit /Arise between artists from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and San Francisco/Bay Area in collaboration with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
Maw Shein Win’s poetry books include Score and Bone (Nomadic Press) and full-length collection Invisible Gifts: Poems (Manic D Press). Win is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito, California. Her most recent poetry collection is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn 2020), longlisted for the 2021 PEN America Open Book Award and nominated for the Northern California Book Award for poetry. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and was a Spring 2021 ARC Poetry Fellow at UC Berkeley. mawsheinwin.com
ABOUT THE VIDEOGRAPHER
Mahima Kotian is a freelance photographer and videographer. Originally from Mumbai (India), she moved to San Francisco to pursue a Master’s degree in Communications. She loves all things art, from painting to reading to filming. Mahima aspires to be a videographer and video editor, and narrate great stories through her content.
ABOUT THE EVENT PRODUCER / SOUND PERSON
Evan Karp is the creator and executive director of Quiet Lightning, recognized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as one of the 100 “people, organizations, and movements who are shaping the future of culture”, and the founding editor of Litseen, recognized by the New York Times as a go-to, near-comprehensive source for Bay Area literary events. He’s written columns for the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, SF Weekly, SF/Arts, and The Rumpus, and his nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Guardian UK, BOMBlog, Eleven Eleven, Omniverse, Vertebrae, and a fading constellation of other places. With his brother Miles, he combines music, words, and other sounds as Turk & Divis; with Maw Shein Win, as Vata & the Vine. Evan is the events manager for Booksmith, The Bindery, and Berkeley Arts & Letters.
ABOUT THE EVENT EMCEE
Christopher Statton is an artist, arts administrator, and community activist based in San Francisco. In addition to his role as CAMP co-director, he is known for serving as Executive Director of San Francisco’s Roxie Theater during the historic theater’s transition to a non-profit community-based independent film venue. An alumnus of Oxford University’s Organizational Leadership program, Statton is currently a member of the leaderless San Francisco Poster Syndicate.
FILMING WALL + RESPONSE ON CLARION ALLEY