We hate to state the obvious, but the world really doesn't seem like such a peaceful place right now. Shootings in our cities and in our schools, a prison system intent on perpetuating cycles of poverty and crime, never-ending unrest in the Middle East -- It's enough to make any sane person want to bury their head in the sand. However the artists in the group exhibition "Speak Your Peace" offer an alternative.
Rather than avoiding the issues they ask us instead to look clearly at what is going on in our community and world and consider new dialogues. The opening night features the intensely positive incantations of Brotha Chaz Walker and the Peaceful Vibes alongside Persian artist Nathera Mawla, who empowers women everywhere merely by reciting her poetry.
Street artists CK1 and Shaghayegh Cyrous demonstrate that graffiti is alive and well in Iran by creating work inspired by the theme, while Betty Nobue Kano lays origami cranes in the form of a peace sign over the ripped canvas of one of her paintings. A pair of striking billboards by Ala Ebtekar and Uzi Broshi installed at Fourth St. and Brannan purposefully take the art out of the gallery and onto the streets, hoping to spur more conversation. After all only when we communicate can we create change.
Catch the closing reception for "Speak Your Peace" on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. featuring a walk-through and panel discussion with five exhibiting artists at SOMArts. Admission is free.