The San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Leland Wong in Café Valor, curated by Alice Wu, located in the lobby of the Veterans Building just steps from the SFAC Main Gallery. I Hotel features a selection of Chinese ink illustrations used in Karen Tei Yamashita's groundbreaking book, I Hotel (2010, Coffee House Press, MN.)
Leland Wong grew up above his family’s store in San Francisco’s Chinatown. With Manilatown in close proximity, Wong witnessed both the heyday and then the injustices surrounding the International Hotel, or I Hotel. Founded in 1854 and rebuilt in 1907 after the earthquake, the I Hotel was a low-income single-occupancy resident hotel that primarily served the Asian population, and in particular the growing Filipino community. As San Francisco grew and “urban renewal” took hold, eviction notices were issued in 1968, a decade of protests and negotiations ensued, and the final residents were forcefully removed amidst 3000 protesters on August 4, 1977. Wong created the Chinese ink illustrations on view for Karen Tei Yamashita’s book I Hotel (2010, Coffee House Press, MN), a National Book Award finalist. The artist states, “It was a crazy and confusing time, and my hope is that people will look at my work and have a better understanding of what happened.”
About the artist:
Leland Wong’s (b. 1952) artwork has been part of the Bay Area’s Asian American community for more than forty years. Wong first began designing posters and handbills for street fairs and local Chinese community events. These emerging interests led to his enrollment in San Francisco State University, where he earned a BFA in 1975. During the 1970s, he was involved with Kearny Street Workshop, a Chinatown/ Manilatown community art group, where he produced posters and conducted workshops in screen-printing and photography. Wong designed his first Nihonmachi Street Fair poster in 1974, inaugurating a highly popular series that has continued for over three decades. Additionally, Wong’s prints and photography have been widely published and exhibited in both national and regional venues including: The Corcoran Gallery (Washington, D.C.), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Museum of California, the de Young Museum, National Japanese American Historical Society, SOMARTS Gallery, and the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. (bio by Margo Machida)
Image credit (left to right): Leland Wong, 1977: I Hotel (Chang and Eng), 2010. Leland Wong, 1974: I-Migrant Hotel, 2010. Leland Wong, 1968: Eye Hotel (SF Strike), 2010. All works are Chinese ink on paper.