Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Artists include: Paul Pei-Jen Hau, Agnes Pelton, Thai Bui, Rene Yung, Angela Buenning Filo, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Charisse Domingo, Mike Arcega, Shorty Fatz, Samuel Rodriguez, Matthew Rodriguez, and more. Curatorial consultants include the artists along with Nancy Hom, Tom Izu, Jianhua Shu, and others. Collaborators include Silicon Valley DeBug, California History Center, and De Anza instructional divisions joined by Euphrat Advisory Council and community organizing committees.
The inaugural exhibition in the new museum, honored our past and looked to the future as it wove together the stories of artists and Silicon Valley residents and groups. We honored world-renowned painter Paul Pei-Jen Hau (then 92), who has a museum named after him in eastern China, and has taught locally for over 55 years. Hau's bold watercolor and ink paintings bridge cultures of East and West. The Euphrat collection of paintings by Agnes Pelton (1881-1961, a "Poet of Nature,") connected Euphrat history with the current resurgence of Pelton's art, including the 2009 major show of Pelton's art at the Orange County Museum of Art. Her mystical landscapes also suggest a world where East meets West. LBLA artists, arts leaders then, continue to impact Silicon Valley art, with Angela Buenning Filo, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and Rene Yung having major exhibitions in 2012 and 2013. The more youthful contingent included two artists opening up new directions for Silicon Valley arts. Photographer Charisse Domingo with Silicon Valley De-Bug unites photography with social justice and journalism, e.g. powerfully documenting the faces and words of mothers who encounter family problems with the criminal justice system. Custom bike specialists Shorty Fatz are another forward-looking hybrid, building an art company with their signature bikes, handling large public art commissions, and reaching out to youth with graphics and bike workshops.
Student involvement in our Come on Down! project space included major installations, The Mapping Project and Picturing Our Communities. Culmination of the exhibition was a Euphrat Participatory Session in the California Studies Conference: Debugging the Silicon Dream: Real Life in a Virtual World. We presented "Euphrat Museum of Art: Art and Leadership, Perspectives on Silicon Valley".
Update on one of the artists: Cupertino 2011 Artist of the Year Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Professor Emeritus of Textile Art at San Jose State University, exhibits internationally. In 2012, she was featured in the fourth season of "Craft in America," a Peabody Award-winning series on PBS.