Diversity Studies News

Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015 by Chris Bliss

CCA students pose in front of new mural with faculty member Eduardo Pineda

A stunning new mural was unveiled this month on the Oakland campus of California College of the Arts (CCA).

Six CCA students were selected this summer to paint a new mural on the side of Martinez Hall. Led by faculty member and noted muralist Eduardo Piñeda, the team set out to create a mural that would celebrate and promote diversity and social justice, two core values of the college.

Read more about CCA's core values »

Queen Califia Rules!

The central focus of the colorful mural is Califia, a mythical warrior queen who ruled over a kingdom of black women living on the "island" of California. Her representation here was inspired by depictions of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego, the 16th century Mexican peasant to whom the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared.

In the CCA mural Queen Califia represents the people, culture, and land of California, and she is surrounded by a landscape that is both natural and political.

Juan Diego, depicted as a black youth wearing a hoodie, offers Queen Califia light, water, and corn. Diego represents the long struggle for freedom and equality, while Queen Califia symbolizes an untamed and bountiful land prior to the arrival of Europeans to the Americas.

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 by Nick Janikian

The Tree of Life mural project (2015)

The Tree of Life (El Árbol de la Vida) is a six-foot-high by 30-foot-long community-based mural project made in May 2015 by currently detained* undocumented immigrant Central American youths and The School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin / Walls of Hope in El Salvador (cofounded by CCA faculty member Claudia Bernardi) and students and faculty from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.

* The location is undisclosed to protect the unaccompanied alien children (UACs).

The mural depicts the perilous journey Central American youths face as they cross the United States / Mexico border. It also alludes to the brutality and violence that exists due to trafficking of narcotics.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 by Rachel Walther

Amanda Cachia

Amanda Cachia (Visual and Critical Studies 2012) is an independent curator originally from Sydney who is currently working on her PhD at the University of California, San Diego. Her dissertation is on the intersections between contemporary art, phenomenology, and disability.

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Jim Norrena

On Monday, March 9, members of CCA Architecture staff, faculty, and students came together on the San Francisco campus to discuss why the Black Lives Matter movement is important to its pedagogy -- and beyond -- as well as to the college’s over-arching initiative to promote diversity.

The Black Lives Matter Teach-In began with a standing-room-only presentation in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus, and was followed by an organized teach-in held in the back of the Nave.

Among the various breakout groups were meaningful discussions that addressed specific curricular issues and challenges about how architecture as a discipline can address issues related to diversity.

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 by Laura Braun

As a kid growing up in the small town of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Bryan Keith Thomas' best friends were the eighty-year-old women who lived in his neighborhood. He would sit on their porches in the afternoons and listen to them recount tales of the past. Now, if you ask, the artist and California College of the Arts associate professor will recount his own stories about listening to their stories — describing how they held themselves like royal matriarchs, and paid a meditative attention to reality as a symptom of moving slowly.

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014 by Laura Braun

Artist, educator, and human rights activist Claudia Bernradi, works at the intersection of art and conflict. For 30 years, Claudia has participated in investigations of human rights violations, working with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team in Argentina, Buenos Aires. From this experience, she recognized that art could be used to articulate the communal memories of survivors of human rights atrocities. The Disappeared Are Appearing Mural Project was created by relatives of those who disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina.

Posted on Monday, November 3, 2014 by Laura Braun

For most of his career, Misrach has worked alone, but two years ago, he began to collaborate with the composer Guillermo Galindo. Galindo’s music, written for instruments made from objects found along the border, will interact with Misrach’s photographs in an exhibition that the San Jose Museum of Art is mounting in the spring of 2016. The exhibition will tour the country through 2018, and Aperture will publish a book documenting the collaboration. These photographs appear here for the first time.

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by Zachary Royer Scholz

Curated by Joyce Grimm (MA Curatorial Practice 2006), the exhibition Thresholds of Faith: Four Entries Into the Beyond at San Francisco’s Manresa Gallery features four artists of different faith backgrounds who are all affiliated with CCA.

The artists -- Lynn Marie Kirby (Film faculty), Taraneh Hemami (MFA 1991, now Diversity Studies faculty), Ali Naschke-Messing (MFA 2007), and Cara Levine (MFA 2012, now Sculpture faculty) -- have each produced evocative individual projects that invite reflection on religious practice and experience within contemporary life.

Housed within the active Catholic parish of San Francisco’s Saint Ignatius Church, Manresa Gallery is a unique project (and a surprising one, to many) that allows local and international contemporary artists to directly explore intersections between art and religion.

The resulting exhibitions expand the boundaries of both spiritual and artistic endeavor, and aim to generate far-reaching dialogue within a broad and diverse community.

Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Pratibha Parmar, Alice Walker, and Geena Davis [photo: Jim Norrena]

Pratibha Parmar is a British filmmaker, director, producer, and writer who is known internationally for her political and often controversial documentary film work. She’s also a stalwart activist within the global feminism and lesbian rights movements.

In short, her accomplishments and commitment to making art that matters makes her an ideal visiting artist (MFA in Film) here at California College of the Arts.

Before she was born, Parmar’s family emigrated from India to East Africa, and then later immigrated to London, where she was raised and went on to study at Bradford and Birmingham Universities where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively.

Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

On a crystal-clear June evening in summer 2013, the sun is setting in Marfa, Texas, and a dozen CCA students -- together with a dozen more students from two art schools in the Netherlands -- are settling into the evening rhythms of their tent city.

The tents are cozily nestled in the courtyard of a former officer’s club, long abandoned by the US military. Elsewhere in the building complex, an old bar has been converted into an ad hoc Internet lounge. A spookily empty ballroom houses a broken-down old piano. The kitchen has accommodated the making of many a communal dinner.