Cheryl Sim on We are the Bridges
The work We are the Bridges is a collaboration between the artists Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss. Jessica is a queer Colombian-American mural artist based in San Francisco who works to constantly extend the possibilities of the mural to promote social justice and agency. Shanna Strauss, who shares these engagements, and whose work is presented as a solo artist in this show, contributes her techniques of photo transfer and the use of reclaimed wood, that brings with it past narratives and energies. This work provided an opportunity to expand the artists’ series dedicated to women and work and features three sitters: Sauda Burch, who holds a portrait of her grandparents, Xochipala Maes Valdez, who holds a sacred engraved gourd, and Arnita Dobbins who holds a fan, which is an object associated with Oshun, a goddess in the Yoruba spiritual tradition. Together through their work, Sabogal and Strauss uplift women, people of colour, differently abled, queer and trans folks, immigrants, and Indigenous people; work that is vital to affirmation of their stories and calling attention to histories of oppression.
About Jessica Sabogal & Shanna Strauss
Jessica Sabogal is a Colombian-American muralist from San Francisco whose large-scale public artworks attempt to document and disrupt. Shanna Strauss is a Tanzanian-American mixed media artist whose work centres on honouring and uplifting the oral traditions and stories of women of colour. Together, they attempt to form a new visual language, incorporating Strauss’s unique techniques of photo-transfer, wood carving, and wood burning with Sabogal’s large-scale mural aesthetics utilizing spray paint and stencils. As life and collaborative partners, they birth their creations from the following framework: As artists, it is our duty to uplift the sacredness of women, people of color, differently abled, queer and trans folks, immigrants and the undocumented, and our indigenous brothers and sisters, whom continue to face ongoing oppression and marginalization. We believe in the right to our own liberation, unbounded by man-made borders, white supremacy, and misogyny. Each work they create is a celebration of our differences and a symbol of our liberation. Most recently, their work has been commissioned by The California Endowment; University of California, San Francisco; and the Euphrat Museum, Cupertino.