Sarah Pritchard, Director of Communications & Strategy
415-863-1414 x103, [email protected]

SOMArts Cultural Center Presents

Exhibition November 30, 2017–January 10, 2018
Opening reception & performances Thursday, November 30, 6–9pm

7 artists explore the potential of sports as an emancipatory project through an immersive experience of creativity and play.

October 30, 2017, San Francisco, CA— SOMArts Cultural Center presents Game Recognize Game, a deep inquiry into the power and potential of sports as a culture-building institution for social change curated by Dania Cabello. The first exhibition in the 2017–2018 season of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency, this group exhibition will build an immersive environment for creativity and play, inviting audience members to bring play inside the gallery walls.

Opening with a free public reception on Thursday, November 30, 6–9 pmGame Recognizes Game explores the historic precedents and contemporary context for athletes like Colin Kaepernick who are leveraging sports as a platform for social change. Interactive installations will invite gallery visitors to discover how play can transform public spaces and break down barriers that keep people separated. From the walls of a gallery to the border wall, visitors will be invited to imagine play as a physical language that creates space for greater freedom, movement and self-determination.

“Game Recognize Game is an experiential and intergenerational exhibition that invites audiences to play and move in the name of freedom amidst and in spite of the current political moment — a moment that seeks to divide families, spread racism and vitriol, and promote sexist ideologies,” Cabello observes of her curatorial debut for Game Recognize Game.

The opening reception on November 30 will feature artist talks and youth participant reflections on the intention and process of creating Game Recognize Game. In addition, performers will activate a community cypher, inviting audience members to play in the space through dance and photography. Using the hashtag #possibilityofplay, the opening reception will initiate an ongoing social media campaign encouraging participants to activate public spaces beyond the walls of the gallery.

Writer and photographer Ed Ntiri makes images that celebrate and tell the stories of athletes who are often on the margins of mainstream sports — young people at play across the Bay Area. Offering a fresh, new perspective of the subjects of sports, these portraits tell a different story of who plays and who is seen.

Illustrator Yonas Tesfai produces work under the name artboy47. Based in Oakland by way of multiple destinations including his home of Eritrea, Tesfai finds inspiration in free form illustration, creating work at the intersection of politics, sports, and the Black experience in America.

As the daughter of political refugees from Chile and a former professional soccer player with Santos FC of Brazil, curator and exhibiting artist Dania Cabello uses play as a platform to explore, expose, and transform oppressive power dynamics. Through visual representations, she celebrates athletes who have used their platforms for social change. Cabello also works as a sports educator with young athletes in Oakland who will be invited to contribute their artworks and reflections on the possibility of play to the exhibition through a participatory workshop on Saturday, December 9.

Multidisciplinary artist Cece Carpio uses acrylic, ink and installations to tell stories of immigration, ancestry, resilience and resistance. Carpio’s portraits of Bay Area young athletes center the bodies and work of young women at play, honoring and celebrating culture, histories, and sisterhood.

Yvan Iturriaga exposes the “dark side” of sports through multimedia installations exploring the systems of power that influence how we play and perceive sports. For Game Recognize Game, Iturriaga will build a replica border wall, inviting audiences to kick, play, and throw against the wall to protest the borders imposed upon us and create new meaning out of systems intended to harm and divide.

Public programs in conjunction with the exhibition include a participatory youth workshop on Saturday, December 9, 12–3 pm and the closing reception and performances on Saturday, January 6, 6–9 pm.


Arjuna Sayyed
Cece Carpio
Dania Cabello
Ed Ntiri
Yonas Tesfai
Miguel “Bounce” Perez
Yvan Iturriaga


November 30, 2017–January 10, 2018
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm

The exhibition is free to visit during gallery hours and during the opening reception. SOMArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. More information on accessibility is available here:

Opening Reception
Thursday, November 30, 6–9pm
The opening night celebration features performances, artist talks and a community cypher. To learn more, visit

Participatory Youth Workshop
Saturday, December 9, 12–3pm
An afternoon of workshops specifically geared towards youth from the community groups and schools highlighted in the exhibit. Youth will participate in workshops and reflections exploring dynamics of power through play. To learn more, visit

Closing Reception & Performances
Saturday, January 6, 2018, 6–9pm

The inter-generational closing ceremony will invite all people to play in the name of freedom. It will be an open invitation to all to activate space, document joy, move, and dance together. To learn more, visit



SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation.

SOMArts plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths.

For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Image credit: Bayan Al-Rawas, Ed Ntiri. Image courtesy of the artist.

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