New Art on Market Street Poster Series Highlighting Six Asian American San Francisco Trailblazers Unveiled on Market Street

Making its debut during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, twelve new posters illustrated by artist Minnie Phan are now on view on Market Street at SFMTA Transit Shelters

Know History, Know Self by Minnie Phan, Art on Market Poster Series 2023

Know History, Know Self by Minnie Phan, 2023, Art on Market Street Poster Series Program

SAN FRANCISCO, November 15, 2023 – The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is thrilled to announce the installation of the last of four poster installments that have been commissioned for the 2023 Art on Market Street Poster Series program.  

Know History, Know Self created by award-winning illustrator, Minnie Phan, and features twelve unique poster designs that celebrate six Asian American trailblazers in art and culture, paying tribute to their profound legacies and their close ties to the vibrant city of San Francisco.  

The posters will be on view along Market Street between 7th and Steuart streets at 15 SFMTA transit shelters through January 2024.  

San Francisco holds a rich history in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage, marked by pioneering milestones like the establishment of the first Chinatown in the United States, the birth of ethnic studies, and the term "Asian American." The AAPI population has surged, with nearly 34% of San Franciscans identifying as having diverse Asian backgrounds. While contributing significantly to fields like medicine, science, and cuisine, their stories and culture have often been portrayed by voices outside the AAPI community, perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatization. 

Know History, Know Self aspires to rectify this narrative by celebrating the creativity of Asian American artists whose lives were intrinsically connected to the city of San Francisco. It serves as an homage to those who came before, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the city's diverse and interconnected history of movers, shakers, and torchbearers. 

"Minnie Phan's illustrations of six icons of the API community featured in the Know History, Know Self poster series embodies the spirit of inclusivity, representation, and helps us celebrate our city's rich cultural history and diversity,” said Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs. “It is fitting that we are able to share these beautiful posters along Market Street during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to highlight the profound artistic and cultural contributions that have been made by the Asian American community in San Francisco and excited to share this incredible poster series with our city and the world."  

Each of the six dual-sided poster in the series depicts a single deceased individual who resided in San Francisco, offering a glimpse into their legacy. The 'front' of each poster is rendered in full color using mixed media, while the 'back' is presented in black and white, symbolizing the duality of their stories. 

The selected artists featured in the Know History, Know Self poster series, in alphabetical order, are: 

  • Ruth Asawa, Japanese-American Sculptor (1926-2013) 
  • Bernice Bing, Queer Chinese-American Painter (1936-1998) 
  • Loni Ding, Chinese-American Filmmaker (1931-2010) 
  • James Leong, Chinese-American Artist (1929-2011) 
  • Martin Wong, Queer Chinese-American Painter (1946-1999) 
  • Kaisik Wong, Queer Chinese-American Fashion Designer (1950-1990) 

"This project is a profound journey through the rich tapestry of Asian American history and culture in San Francisco. It's an honor to pay tribute to the remarkable artists who have contributed to the city's artistic legacy,” shared artist Minnie Phan in a statement. 

The 2023 Art on Market Street Poster Series theme, “Comics 2.0”, is a continuation of the 2022 poster series theme based on the artistic medium of comics. In addition to Minnie Phan, other artists that have been selected to be featured in 2023 include: Peter and Maria Hoey, Triple Dream Comics and Rina Ayuyang.  

Three artists, Kirti Bassendine, Calixto Robles, and Jesse Hernandez, were selected by the Arts Commission to create posters for the 2024 Art on Market Street Poster Series that will be devoted to the San Francisco Bay Area Native Peoples. 


About the Artist 
Minnie Phan is an illustrator and writer based in Oakland, CA. Her work has been featured by Google, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the San Francisco Public Library, for which she illustrated a citywide reading campaign in 2022. She is the illustrator of several picture books including The Yellow Áo Dài, written by Hanh Bui and Simone, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen. Follow her on Instagram @minnie_phan

About the Art on Market Street Poster Series
The San Francisco Arts Commission has commissioned new artworks from artists on an annual basis since 1992 in partnership with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Clear Channel. Now in its 31st year, the program has partnered with over 120 artists since its inception, commissioning over $1.2 million worth of art, showcasing a wide breadth of artistic styles, themes and topics centered around San Francisco. Up to four artists are commissioned annually by the Arts Commission to create a series of at least six unique works of art that responds to a theme specific to San Francisco. To learn more, visit

About the San Francisco Arts Commission 
The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries, and Art Vendor Licensing. To learn more, visit

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