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Exhibition - Exinclusivity: Space of Inclusion

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019 at 12:00pm

Kala Art Gallery
2990 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94701

Kala Gallery is proud to present Exinclusivity -Space of Inclusion by Taro Hattori. Exinclusivity -Space of Inclusion is a site-specific multi-media installation about immigration experiences translated through music, video, storytelling and performance. Working with several refugee support organizations in the Bay Area (ARTogether, Asian Refugee United, Burma Refugee Family Network (BRFN), the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI), and East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum), the project explores how cultural expressions such as singing and writing can support the process of psychological and physical survival over experiences of migration. There will also be a music performance featuring a composition by Byron Au Yong during the exhibition.

Exinclusivity – Space of Inclusion is funded, in part, by California Arts Council and Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Building on a two-year creative relationship with Kala through Print Public, Exinclusivity – Space of Inclusion evolves from Taro Hattori’s current and past projects, large-scale sculptural works made from everyday materials like cardboard, drywall, and bricks, videos exploring belonging, and participatory experiments about political challenges and social conflict. His recent project Rolling Counterpoint, a roving Japanese tea house that he built during a residency at Montalvo Arts Center, and took to partner sites to invite people in to have conversations, share stories and experiences inspired his current work.
Montalvo’s press release describes the context of Rolling Counterpoint: “Historically, the Japanese teahouse served as a space for contemplation and communion with others…in 16th-century Japan, against the backdrop of civil war, tea masters became political go-betweens while teahouses served as radically egalitarian spaces of nonviolence and provided opportunities for rational discourse, conviviality, political consensus and peace.” Exinclusivity – Space of Inclusion builds on the foundation of Rolling Counterpoint, creating new spaces where people can share stories and experiences, address conflict, foster understanding, and imagine new ways of being together. The current political anxiety and a sense of collective angst here in the US have brought questions about belonging to the forefront of the public imagination. What does belonging mean today? How do we promote a sense of cultural empathy? Taro’s work delves into these important and timely questions.

For Exinclusivity – Space of Inclusion, Taro has been working with several local organizations, and interviewed refugees about their journey and lives, touching on themes of belonging and displacement. After completing initial interviews, Taro asked refugees to participate in video sessions to be used both in the video installation at the Kala gallery and as inspiration for a composition created by musician Byron Au Yong, known for composing songs of dislocation prompted by a broken lineage.
 For the video sessions, each of the refugee participants read letters they wrote for someone they have lost in their life and sang for that person. Byron Au Yong’s composition accompanies the exhibition. Born to Chinese immigrants in Pittsburgh and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Byron’s work is often about the American Dream, nature and sustainability. Like Taro, Byron creates across disciplines with an attention to intercultural collaboration and the ways people connect with the places they call home.

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