fig. 48: The Untouchables: Trophy Wives
(The Doll Collection, a portrait of the American Upper Caste)
Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, 1997
© Johanna Poethig
Johanna Poethig is a visual, public and performance artist who has exhibited internationally and has been actively creating public art works, murals, sculpture and installations over the last twenty years. She works in collaboration with other artists, architects, urban planners, specific communities and cultural groups. She was raised in the Philippines through high school, and has lived in Chicago and San Francisco since coming to the United States. She received her BFA from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California.
Ms. Poethig is on the faculty of the new Visual and Public Art Institute of California State University, Monterey Bay. She is artistic director for the Inner City Public Art Projects for Youth, a program of San Francisco's South of Market Cultural Center and Artspan. They have completed a body of ceramic public art works installed throughout downtown San Francisco. She has created a number of major murals through the San Francisco Mural Resource Center since the early 1980s. She has three major murals in Los Angeles commissioned through the Social and Public Art Resource Center, World Cup Soccer and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. She created the ceramic entrance way for the New Children's Shelter in San Jose.
fig. 49: Open Arms
New Children's Shelter, San Jose, CA
Ceramic, granite, slate, 13'x50', 1995
© Johanna Poethig
Through the San Francisco Art Commission she installed a series of ceramic installations for the new Tenderloin Playground created with neighborhood youth. She designed two series of bus posters in collaboration with women from the SF downtown jail and elderly artists. She recently produced the CD "Lick Me to Heaven" and the exercise video "Silver Abs and Golden Buns" with Barbara Golden and their group WIGband. In 1997 she completed a new facility at Fairmont Hospital in Alameda and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Initiative for her piece "The Untouchables: The Doll Collection, a portrait of the American Upper Caste," which was exhibited at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco.
Johanna Poethig's most recent work includes a new mural in Santiago de Cuba "Oiga Mi Llamada," painted with Cuban artist Carlos Rene Aguilera as part of INTER-NOS, an International Mural Painting Project. Her newest series of dolls, the "Babaylan Barbies" are part of the Manila/San Francisco Sister City Sisters Babaylan exhibit of Filipina American artists from the Bay Area. This exhibit is scheduled for September 1998 at San Francisco State University.
Johanna is also a member of the group DIWA, a Filippino American arts collective, whose work "Balikbayan Box: Tracing the Strains" was exhibited at the Bronx Museum in Spring 1998.
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All text © Terri Cohn and Johanna Poethig.