NEW YORK, NY.-
As a complement to its ongoing exhibition Activist New York, now entering its 10th anniversary, Museum of the City of New York
unveiled a new immersive mural installation by artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya that illustrates the resilience of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) New Yorkers, and solidarity across activist movements. Incorporating contemporary images and historical activist figures Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama, Phingbodhipakkiyas installation Raise Your Voice invites audiences to consider their own power for advocacy.
Telling New Yorks stories, and amplifying the voices of New Yorks communities, is vital to our mission, and were grateful that the Puffin Foundation has supported Activist New Yorks evolution over the past decade, said Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director and President of the Museum of the City of New York. This powerful, immersive installation refuses to be ignored, offering a fitting entry point for visitors to engage with the history of New Yorks thriving activist movements.
Raise Your Voice features colorful floor-to-ceiling illustrations installed adjacent to Activist New York, and mixes selections from the artists 2021 public art campaign, We Are More, with new original artworks of activists Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X. Both Harlem residents, these leaders became friends and allies in their campaigns against racism and war, and inspired future generations of activists in the Asian American and Black liberation movements. Phingbodhipakkiyas We Are More first debuted on electronic billboards and trash receptacles in Times Square as hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The depictions of everyday New Yorkers paired with images of historical figures represent the legacy of New York activists.
This immersive installation juxtaposes past and present to explore themes of repression and resistance; solidarity across movements; and how audiences can engage with activism in their own lives. By scanning QR codes in the gallery, or visiting raiseyourvoice.to, viewers are invited to respond to these questions or share their stories with others.
Along with the Raise Your Voice installation, Activist New York will also feature two new sections: One focuses on current NYC activism and the other on the activism of Chinese American laundry workers in the 1930s-1950s. The section on current activism includes masks used during protests, flyers relating to labor organizing and zoning debates, and handmade signs collected by the Museum during its open call for objects from the COVID-19 pandemic and summer 2020 anti-racism mobilizations.
The section on laundry workers explores how workers in the citys hand laundries, demanded improved labor rights and resisted longstanding, legalized discrimination in the era of Chinese Exclusion and McCarthyism. Objects include an original hand laundry sign, photos of laundry workers who organized in Chinatown, and objects that illuminate how Chinese Americans fought against discrimination by City officials. With the recent rise in anti-Chinese discrimination and violence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, these histories of repression and resistance remain as important as ever.
Now entering its second decade, Activist New York examines the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have advocated, agitated, and exercised their power to shape the citysand the nationsfuture. Centuries of activist efforts, representing the full spectrum of political ideologies, are illuminated through a series of installations. The exhibition features historic artifacts and images from the Museums celebrated collection as well as pieces on loan from other repositories and personal collections, and serves as a learning tool for thousands of students and educators annually.
Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and activist. As artist-in-residence with the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Phingbodhipakkiyas art series celebrating the resilience of the AAPI community, I Still Believe in Our City, reached millions in New York City and worldwide through her Atlantic Terminal billboard and subway and bus shelter posters. In the wake of the Atlanta shootings in March 2021, art from the series appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. Her work has also been shown at the Cooper Union, Times Square, Google, Lincoln Center, and recognized by The New York Times, Fast Company, and The Guardian. Through large-scale murals, augmented reality (AR) experiences, sculptures, and participatory installations, her art reveals the depth, beauty, and power of marginalized communities.