Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale

An Exhibition of Belle Yang's Books, Paintings & Illustrations

For Immediate Release:
June 29, 2011

Media Contact:
Michelle Jeffers 415-557-4282
mjeffers@sfpl.org

Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale

Exhibition of Belle Yang’s books, paintings, and illustrations on view at San Francisco Public Library

The San Francisco Public Library is proud to present an exhibition of work by artist and author Belle Yang. The exhibition of paintings, books and illustrations will be on view in the San Francisco Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, July 2 – Aug. 14. A PBS documentary, My Name is Belle, will also be screened in the gallery.

Born in Taiwan and raised in the U.S., Yang has spent decades seeking justice through her writing and illustrations. Her work represents the lives of immigrants, those who have been devastated by World War II and life under communism, and her own Chinese heritage.  Yang’s adult nonfiction memoirs and her latest work, the graphic memoir, Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, gives voice to men and woman who disappeared in the chaos without a murmur. This book is the third of her Manchurian Trilogy and her first memoir in a comic book format.

Her children’s books, set in Asia and in America, are largely autobiographical, especially the story, Hannah is My Name, based on her first years living in San Francisco as she learned English and her parents nervously awaited green cards, which would allow them to work legally in their adopted home.

Yang, an only child, came to the U.S. with her family when she was 7. She graduated from college with a degree in biology and eventually followed her father's footsteps by studying art at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design and the Beijing Institute of Traditional Chinese Painting in Beijing. Yang’s journey to study in China was prompted by her parents, to help her get away from an abusive relationship in the U.S. In China she not only found safety but artistic insight that matured under the influence of political events.

As Yang recalls, “I absorbed the color, vibrant life of peasant painting and the intellectual art of the ink-wash painting. I had also been witness to Democracy Spring and the aftermath of the Tiananmen Massacre, which propelled me back to the U.S., vowing I would never waste the gift of liberty, especially creative freedom. I had witnessed abuse on an intimate level, now I had also seen state violence.”

The exhibition is open to the public; all programs at the Library are free.

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Related programs:

Author Talk: July 7, 5:30 p.m., Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room, Main Library. A book sale by Readers Bookstore follows the event.

Author Talk in Mandarin: July 16, 2 p.m., Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room, Main Library.  A book sale by Readers Bookstore follows the event. 

Exhibition Tour and Children’s Reading with Belle Yang: Author/artist Belle Yang will give a tour of her exhibition Forget Sorrow; read from her books; show how a book is put together and create original drawings based on suggestions from the audience. This program is geared to children and their families. July 16, 3:30 p.m., Jewett Gallery, Lower Level, Main Library.

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