Gallery: Race as Art


The Film


A drawing of an Asian woman with passive expression and flowing black hair set on purple background, holding a colorful chicken which blends into the pattern on her blouse

Three men stand before an American flag background. The man on the left has his hand on his chest, the one in the middle is holding a small American Flag, and the man on the right is saluting.

In the vein of orange crate label art: On the left, oranges on a blue-sky with an exaggerated stereotypical cartoon of a grinning Japanese man in a white and blue-striped hat. The words “Work Crappy” float in a black cloud. Below, it says, “Jap Happy Brand.” On the right, an eagle soars over California clutching an orange in its talon. Light beams from the orange, along with cameras, televisions and cars.

Poetry is power.  Poetry is the ability to use a word and have it directly hit someone’s heart. 
—Kate Rigg

Funny, angry and profound, RACE IS THE PLACE is a visual and verbal riff on race in America from a wide variety of artists, poets, rappers, performance artists and stand-up comics. Featuring established artists as well as up-and-comers, RACE IS THE PLACE is a one-hour jam that combines racially charged clips from old movies with interviews and performances. These pieces dare to examine one of the most emotionally explosive issues in American life, busting stereotypes by using humor and poetry to say things traditionally left unsaid.

All I got to do is talk about what’s real, and I’ll be talking about race.
—Raymond “Boots” Riley

From a hilarious bit by comic Ahmed Ahmed on the joys of flying as an Arab American, to Danny Hoch's biting monologue about a harassed Bronx street vendor, to Hawaiian poet Haunani-Kay Trask's angry meditation on American imperialism, to Kate Rigg's “Rice Rice Baby,” a funny and explosive rap about the stereotyping of Asian women, RACE IS THE PLACE yanks off the muzzle of political correctness to speak the often ugly truths that lie beneath the rosy talk of "multiculturalism" and "diversity."

Do comics create stereotypes?  I don’t think so. Comics are mirrors that reflect.
—Andy Bumatai

RACE IS THE PLACE also features the work of visual artists, including Michael Ray Charles, Ben Sakoguchi, Enrique Chagoya, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold and Paula de Joie. The original soundtrack was composed by Jon Jang and Wayne Wallace and performed by them and a group of multicultural musicians. Produced by Raymond Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores (The Fight in the Fields), RACE IS THE PLACE casts a light on what it means to be a minority American in a time of many different Americas.

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