Our main and annex galleries host local and national artists in rotating exhibits. We present works from photographers and visual artists, as well as archival footage such as posters, broad sides, books, poetry, vinyl, and other items that speak to Third World cultural movements.
Regenerating Resistance: The Alliance Building Legacy of Greg Morozumi
August 21, 2023 - September 16, 2023
Eastside Arts Alliance - 2285 Gallery
This exhibition celebrates the legacy of Greg Morozumi.
As an activist, cultural organizer, artist, teacher and mentor, Greg has been a pillar to
cultural movements and grassroots community organizing in the Bay Area for decades.
Staying true to the belief that culture is a weapon in the struggle for liberation, Greg has
led and organized third world cultural movements laying the foundation for institutions
like the Eastside Arts Alliance.
Through archival material pulled from the Community Archival Resource Project - an
archive of third world history founded by Greg - this exhibition showcases artwork,
essays, photographs, newspapers, political buttons, and postcards that speak to Greg’s
legacy of building alliances amongst third world communities and leading with heart,
power, and culture.
Regenerating Resistance by Elena Serrano
Greg’s love of learning, sharp analysis and life-long commitment to justice is because of
his parents - his mom and dad raised him and his siblings surrounded by political
discussions, books and music. The Vietnam War and the particular irony of Black and
Brown soldiers killing Asians fighting for their own self-determination compelled Greg to
immerse himself in understanding these conflicts, and he sought out discussions that
were grounded in the context of US imperialism. Throughout his life, Greg has
maintained an anti-imperialist worldview.
An unrelenting organizer, Greg specifically considers himself a cultural organizer -
shaping movements that change the consciousness of our communities. He embraces
the power of art to educate and liberate. Greg’s decades of work with Amiri Baraka,
Malaquais Montoya, and Yuri Kochiyama fuel his own passion to dedicate his life to
EastSide Arts Alliance came to be because of Greg’s understanding that the solidarity
of Third World people is how we will claim the power to determine our own destinies.
Working in our neighborhood of East Oakland, his vision was to help create a
permanent institution where the stories and cultures of our neighborhood – South East
Asian, Black, Latinx and Indigenous would prevail. Through visual art, music, theater,
dance, poetry, and townhall forums we would learn from each other and see where
there were points of unity.
Through cultural institutions like EastSide Cultural Center, folks found a trusted place to
engage in principled struggle to build power together. Greg recognizes how powerful
artists are - their work helps us to imagine different worlds and different ways to get
there. No movement is possible without artists.
Greg is always teaching. He does this mostly through sharing - sharing food, books,
buttons, music. Any good teacher must be generous, and Greg shares his knowledge
with all of us. One of today’s struggles is how to get folks to read. Inundated by 3
second bites bombarding our consciousness at all times, it’s near impossible to have
the focused time for study, contemplation and discussion. Greg’s idea - open a
bookstore: Bandung Books was born.
A Third World used and new bookstore, Bandung Books (open Wed-Sat 12AM-5PM) is
named after the Bandung Conference that took place in Indonesia in 1955 and ushered
in what became known as the Bandung Era. African and Asian countries came together
for the first time as a united front, one that was not dominated by the US and Western
Europe. By the end of that decade, the continents of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
became known as the “Third World”. This anti-colonial Third World coalition building is
what EastSide’s work is dedicated to, and was critical to so many liberation struggles
across the world.
EastSide’s CARP (Community Archive Resource Project) - initially brought together with
much of his own archive- is the foundation of Greg’s work as an educator and the
foundation on which all of EastSide’s work is built. The driving force of the archives is
the critical notion that we understand political struggles that came before us and how
folks organized to change systems to act today. Young people today organizing against
police and prisons must know the history of that movement, like the campaign that was
borne out of the shooting of Eleanor Bumpurs - an abolitionist movement that Greg was
a part of in NYC in the 1980s. Greg is committed to making sure we have access to
ARTIST + CURATOR
Greg is an innate artist who creates through multiple mediums - his sketches, altars,
screenprints, and collages are just a few examples. Many folks don’t even know this
about him - he would much rather we focus on other artists such as Emory Douglas,
Andres Cisneros, & Elizabeth Catlett. His decades-long work as a curator, for the Asian
Resource Gallery and EastSide, exemplifies the integration of Greg’s artistry and his
role as an educator, as he would often use his gallery exhibits to sharpen our
understanding of current political struggles and their historical predecessor.
His spirit is that of an artist. This is why he understood how critical art is - the beauty of
the music of David Murray being able to sustain us. The poster art of our annual
Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival as something that inspires us. The poetry of Sonia
Sanchez as a rallying call to incite us. Greg brings his artist's understanding to every
single meeting, rally, reading, townhall, concert, and discussion and it has been a
foundation in every single facet of EastSide’s work.
Regeneration - something like a chant we constantly hear from Greg. This is for the next
generation - what are we giving them and how are they using it? It’s critical to have the
next generation always a part of everything at EastSide – from sitting at our collective
table, to teaching, performing, and learning. Always learning. So many of us consider
Greg to be a mentor - someone who challenges and inspires us, who pushes us to think
more critically, more creatively, more collectively.