Artist collaborates with BART, nonprofit to create domestic violence prevention campaign art

LET’S TALK ­— Multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s artwork at the Civic Center station in San Francisco for the “Let’s Talk About Us” campaign, created in partnership with the Asian Women’s Shelter and BART, tackles domestic violence. photo by Katie Thyken

LET’S TALK ­— Multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s artwork at the Civic Center station in San Francisco for the “Let’s Talk About Us” campaign, created in partnership with the Asian Women’s Shelter and BART, tackles domestic violence. photo by Katie Thyken

Orchid Pusey, the Asian Women’s Shelter executive director, spoke about the “Let’s Talk About Us” campaign in Mandarin in a press conference at a Powell Street BART station in San Francisco in February. After the event to promote the domestic violence prevention campaign, an attendee thanked Pusey for her remarks and told her she was going to share the video she took with her parents.

“That made me so happy because to me, it’s like people are thinking one, when they’re listening to this content or looking at it, they’re actually thinking about their own life, which is exactly what we want…” Pusey told the Nichi Bei News in a phone interview.

The San Francisco-based domestic violence prevention organization collaborated on the campaign with artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya and BART. According to BART, the posters are up at the Civic Center, Powell and Van Ness stations, as well as various Muni stations in and around San Francisco, having been initially publicized in February.

However, the campaign posters currently plastered in the various BART and Muni stations in the city had to be delayed because of the Monterey Park, Calif. and Half Moon Bay, Calif. shootings this past January. Pusey said she spoke at the Portsmouth Square vigil, which was about a week before the campaign messages were supposed to be released.

Asian Women’s Shelter, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, chose Phingbodhipakkiya to create the campaign art because they saw her previous “I Still Believe In Our City” pandemic artwork in New York. Pusey said the AWS staff met with Phingbodhipakkiya on Zoom in 2021 before meeting in person in 2022 to discuss the campaign’s message.

According to Phingbodhipakkiya, the Asian Women’s Shelter staff shared stories from their work and helped “shape the campaign.” She added that the campaign’s core message is “it’s on all of us to look out for each other.” One of the pieces shows a Southeast Asian mother kissing and comforting her child, with “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” painted onto it.

Phingbodhipakkiya, who has worked in Denver, Seattle, Oakland and other places, said every piece is “lovingly rendered.” The campaign posters are translated into Chinese, Tagalog and Spanish. Organizers hope to translate the posters into other languages.

She added that she has had some “challenging conversations” with people in her life who are hurting. She said a campaign like this is necessary because “it is so personal and intimate and it’s hard to ask for help whether you’re the one who’s hurting or the one who wants to help.”

“I think part of our campaign is lifting up — these are…big conversations about well-being and safety,” Pusey remarked.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Fund helped Asian Women’s Shelter fund the campaign project with a $50,000 grant, Pusey said.

“Let’s Talk About Us” campaign posters are on view at several San Francisco BART and Muni stations. They will be up indefinitely, according to BART.

For more information, visit https://www.sfaws.org/.

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