According to exhibition curator Brandon Bauer, “this exhibition brings together works by Aram Han Sifuentes that focus on democracy, citizenship, and political participation. The works in this exhibition manifest the notion of democracy as a contested space in which one can gain a political voice through citizenship, protest, or giving voice to those excluded politically.” It includes handmade protest banners, an Official Unofficial Voting Station, and a banner lending library.
A central feature of the exhibition is a wall of handmade protest banners. Sifuentes hosts workshops to teach sewing skills and banner-making techniques, passing on a traditional, intergenerational skills while drawing communities into conversation about protest and demonstration. Some banners were created by Sifuentes or during previous lending libraries, but a collection of banners made by campus community members are available to be checked out. Next to the poster is an instructional video on how to create a fabric banner with felt letters. A banner making workshop, with instruction by Moki Tantoco, will be taking place at noon on Thursday, October 20 at noon in the Mulva Library.
The Official Unofficial Voting Station is a symbolic voting station open to all. In addition to creating opportunities for anyone to cast a vote, stations bring together communities for conversation, protest, and celebration. Sifuentes, as a noncitizen immigrant, created the program in response to her inability to vote. The first iteration, prior to the 2016 election, included 25 collaborative activations of the station through performances and installations. The project was reiterated during the 2020 elections, with 50 voting station kits sent across the nation. A voting station is housed online, along with a developing archive of responses and vote tallies.
At the Bush Art Center’s Official Unofficial Voting Station, gallery visitors can fill out a freeform kind of ballot, sharing the reasons that they vote, as well as listing local, national, and global issues they’d like to vote on. The Official Unofficial Voting Station, a station for all people and for all issues, creates conversation around who can vote, and what issues visitors most want brought to the ballot. The anonymous ballot responses will be recorded and archived.
The exhibition will be on display between October 3 and October 27, with a reception from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 20.