Mural (Vinyl Wallpaper), 21 x 13 feet (dimensions variable)
Tang Rainbow is an array of non-Asian actors outfitted in Chinese-influenced costumes across 50 years of science fiction cinema and television. Referencing both the artificial orange drink popularized by NASA space flights and the tángzhuāng (唐装, tang suit) — the straight-collared jacket dismissed as “fake antiques” by Chinese scholars of dress — the characters exist in an Asian-imbued future emptied of Asian people, as built by white filmmakers and show runners.
This polychromatic arc is populated by deceptive and lecherous villains, a spiritual guide, an emotionally unavailable mother, a naive technician, and middle management for evil empires. Acts of racial appropriation, often excused as harmless, belie the violence of systemic dehumanization and exclusion — much like the part of a knife blade hidden within the handle, the tang.
Tang Rainbow wrapped around the gallery wall and into the gallery behind it, where two of Suparak’s videos were exhibited. The work is one part of Suparak’s ongoing research project, Asian futures, without Asians.
GROW OUR SOULS
Curated by Melissa Wang
SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco
April 30 – May 22, 2022
Artists: Astria Suparak, Cindy Shih, Connie Zheng, Diana Li, Jess X Snow, Kacy Jung, Monica Tie, Nancy Sayavong, Preetika Rajgariah, Rea Lynn de Guzman, Sheng Lor and Trinh Mai.
Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs, Grow Our Souls showcases twelve artists who are reimagining labor in an era of climate change and late-stage capitalism.
Grow Our Souls presents interconnected, ancestral, spiritual, and visionary alternatives.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, “3 Bay Area visual artists win 2022 Artadia Awards,” Joshua Kosman, July 6, 2022 (print edition July 23, 2022)