Dream Farm Commons doors remain closed, to avoid shared indoor space during the pandemic. The altar can be viewed from the sidewalk and we will be on-site tending altar and receiving contributions on Saturdays 12-6 at:
Dream Farm Commons, 349 15th Street, Downtown Oakland.
Gallery hours: Saturdays 11am - 6pm
You can also send an email addressed to with images of ancestors and loved ones to be printed out and added to the altar.
JAS SPITZER SMITH
CLOSING: OCTOBER 2ND 8-9PM
ALTAR LIGHTING: SEPTEMBER 4TH 8-9PM
Dream Farm Commons (DFC) will host a collaborative installation in the form of an altar for Black Lives, created by 9 Asian, Asian American and Black artists based in the Bay Area. In the tall store front windows of Dream Farm Commons the Altar will serve as a physical and communal space for solidarity, a space for grieving and remembering, and a reminder of the future we are fighting for and the lives we must uplift, celebrate and protect.
We are located in downtown Oakland, blocks away from Oscar Grant Plaza, a location central to the many actions that have occured in Oakland this Summer and in the past. We are printing flyers in different languages to invite community members to bring flowers, photos, candles, mementos, sound bytes, and anything else that will aid in the grieving of what and who we've already lost. As the altar grows, we'll document its progress and produce a zine that will be distributed upon its deinstallation.
This installation is not intended to emphasize suffering, but instead to highlight our collective strength, "to help us (re)construct identity and take our dead with us to the various battles we must wage in their names—and in our names" Jose Esteban Muñoz, A Dialogue on Racial Melancholia, [p. 74] (694).
PHOTOS FROM THE ALTAR
scroll to see more
photos by John Hill (https://www.instagram.com/filmpapi/)
The Altar For Black Lives will begin with a lighting ceremony featuring a socially distanced, outside, viewing of the films UNIVERSAL EXCHANGE by Yétundé Olagbaju and A Ritual For Metamorphosis by Heesoon Kwon. These films will charge the altar with energy and summon our ancestors to protect this sacred space for remembering, honoring, grieving and celebrating life.
by Yétundé Olagbaju
My practice is upheld by the desire to understand how facts can straddle the line between labor and lore. These bits of myth can flatten the complexities of hard work and as such collapse time completely. But it is also about how, in that collapse, new narratives can emerge, new ways of coping can form, and a better understanding of self can form. And, through this process, a kind of healing can arise.
A RITUAL FOR METAMORPHOSIS
by Heesoon Kwon
탈피를위한의식 [A Ritual for Metamorphosis] is reimagining and reinterpreting my family history by exploring the home videos taken by my father Hyungwoon Kwon. Utilizing the virtual space as a utopian realm, I inserted digital avatars of myself and Leymusoom, depicted as a lizard-human hybrid deity, into my childhood home where I encounter patriarchal family rituals and coercive religious rituals that I didn't recognize when I was a child. 탈피를위한의식 [A Ritual for Metamorphosis] is an attempt to reframe my traumatic personal experiences and create an alternate reality where the familial avatars can live outside of the tendrils of patriarchy and domesticity by a virtual form of 굿(gut), the rites performed by Korean shamans that involve giving offerings and sacrifices to gods, spirits, and ancestors.
MILAGROS (IN UNEXPECTED PLACES)
by Sherwin Rio
MILAGROS (IN UNEXPECTED PLACES) by Sherwin Rio is a sound installation work that places ancestral knowledge of survival, metaphor, and the future as means of guiding present-day action, both personal and collective. Installed at Dream Farm Commons’ entryway, emanating through the building’s mail slot, the work delivers sounds of chickens and wind— Filipinx symbols for fortune, fate, and fight— as a daily call for a renewed perseverance, solidarity, and defense of civil liberty and autonomy.
The work calls on various locales of ancestral wisdom by referencing the artist’s family where symbolic domestic rituals hold chickens as arbiters of prosperous fortune; where an urban rooftop chicken farm on a small ancestral home in the outskirts of metro Manila is a self-productive means of living; and where Milagros— or miracles— is the name of the artist’s grandmother who passed down that home. By also referencing the chicken’s cry as a repetitive prompting for action in light, and the rooster as a historical Filipinx symbol for courage in adversity, the work calls on a collective spirit of strength for the community work at hand that includes support for Black lives and defense for the USPS amidst political sabotage. Lastly, the work positions the South/East Asian proverb of bamboo in the wind as a call to resiliency and adaptability amidst polyrhythmic uncertainty.
MILAGROS (IN UNEXPECTED PLACES) is a new work created for Activists, Ancestors & Comrades: A Community Altar for Black Lives.