The Chinese Culture Center collaborated with lead artist Laura Boles Faw to kickstart the exhibition Womxn, Omen, Wǒmén in Chinatown: Reimagining Symbols of Power and Access. They wanted to find artists to develop work that “explore issues of gender and struggles for equity in the neighborhood and city while building connections with community members.” (Chinese Culture Center)
Womxn, Omen, Wǒmén in Chinatown:
Reimagining Symbols of Power and Access
41 Ross Gallery
Exhibit: May 4th - June 17th, 2018
Commissioned by Chinese Culture Center
Lead artist: Laura Boles Faw
With artists Vida Kuang, Shisi Huang
2020 Interview with YBCA
Resilience, Power and Playfulness: The Women of Chinatown San Francisco
2018 Exhibition Press
Chinatown exhibit explores gender equity in immigrant communities – Hoodline
WOMXN, OMEN, WǑMÉN IN CHINATOWN: REIMAGINING SYMBOLS OF POWER AND ACCESS
It was only right to talk to the actual people this project is dedicated toward.
Quick chats let me understand some things:
100 objects, purchased or donated, were collected from different women in Chinatown. Each person answered to the question "What wish do you have for yourself or the community?" Their wish or concern was then bestowed as an omen to the object.
During the exhibit, visitors can throw coins at these neo-auspicious objects to pray for an omen of their choice. Those that believe will be empowered by their own thinking.
The power of superstition and spirituality permeates across the Chinese community. Chinatown storefronts showcase beckoning cats and small money trees that call forth good luck and fortune. One 80-year old woman delayed a flight by throwing a “lucky coin” into the plane engine. In Buddhist shrines, children and adults alike throwing coins at stone turtles for good omens and longevity.
The simple existence of these objects, gold or plastic, provide the believer with psychological protection through pure symbolism. Whether it is century-old sculpture at a grand temple or a janky figurine on the floor corner, the object embodies equal auspicious power.
The installation was exhibited for 2.5 months.