Chinese Culture Center debuts new art show centered on climate change

This week, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (CCC) is gearing up to introduce a new exhibition  — "Infinite Cycle," an artistic response to the threat of global warming.

"Infinite Cycle" is a partnership with Taiwan-based Bamboo Curtain Studio, along with WYNG Masters Award (WMA) of Hong Kong. The group exhibition is billed as an "international exchange between artists and Chinatown's community" that aims to bring awareness to the affects of climate change.

Timed to coincide with this week's Global Climate Action Summit, the exhibit depicts a "global artistic gathering between three different cities — San Francisco, New Taipei City, and Hong Kong — [that's] really an intervention by artists, to add their voice to the urgent conversation around climate change,” said CCC's lead artist and exhibition manager, Hoi Leung. 

Recycle Project (2016), directed by Peng Hsiao-yin, is a dance film produced by Dancecology. | Photo: Courtesy of the artist

The exhibition features seven artists, who each approach the subject in a multitude of ways. Artist Gao Ling's project "Big Mist" reflects on contemporary attitudes on China's air pollution through portraiture, while Taiwan native Lee Peiyu uses soil from contaminated sites there to create ceramic utensils to showcase how pollution "can enter our bodies."

Francis Sollano, a multidisciplinary Filipino artist, features what he calls "trashion," wearable contemporary couture crafted out of non-toxic waste. And Bay Area artists Weston Teruya and Cathy Lu, both alumni of Recology San Francisco's artist-in-residence program, also use recycled materials in their work. 

"Danceology," a video dance performance about plastic bottles. | Photo: Courtesy of CCC

"This collaboration came about as an experiment, to connect and learn about each organization's respective practices in building sustainable cycles," said CCC artistic director Abby Chen.

"We share our resources and strategies with each other, while discussing how these innovative ideas can translate back to communities to inform and influence the people." 

Artist Gao Ling (center) chats with attendees. | Photo: Courtesy of CCC

Next Friday, the CCC will also host "Chinatown at Twilight," a one-night event that celebrates the uniqueness of Chinatown with live performances, dances and games for all ages. It's part of the neighborhood's "Building Community Without Walls" initiative to activate public spaces. 

Featured performers will include an Elvis and Frank Sinatra impersonator, a children's dance troupe, and more. Play Streets and Livable Cities will be providing games along Waverly Place, including hula hoops, potato sack races, chalk art, soccer, dominoes, mahjong and arts and crafts. 

“The evenings are a fun community gathering, to bring music and singing to the alleyways,” said CCC deputy director May Leong. “We’re excited to show everyone how fun an evening in Chinatown can be." 

To encourage visitors to eat, shop and hang out in the neighborhood, a limited number of special coupons to select restaurants and shops will be available throughout the festival. 

In conjunction with the event, the International Hotel Manilatown Center (868 Kearny St.) will also feature live jazz music from "The Autonomous Region," as well as traditional Filipino music and dance performances and a book launch for cookbook The New Filipino Kitchen

"Infinite Cycle" is showing at 41 Ross Alley in Chinatown through October 21. Hours are Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission is free. 

"Chinatown at Twilight" will take place next Friday, September 21, 5–8 p.m. on Waverly Place (between Sacramento and Clay streets).

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