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Common Ground Gallery


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Gallery Hours
Wednesday-Thursday: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Friday: 12:00 pm-8:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm

All exhibitions are free and open to the public

Kim Sandara

January 13 – February 28, 2021

Common Ground Gallery

Kim Sandara’s most recent body of work explores the translation of music to visuals. Different songs and sounds connect to different levels of emotion; and in reiteration, bring about new experiences. Individual memories of songs change. They are made while listening to a continuous playlist of a variety of music genres. The process is synesthetic. Audience interpretation of the works have become more valuable than subjectively stating what exact songs or genres were listened to. The goal of these works are for the artist’s subconscious mark-making to interact with the viewer’s subconscious interpretations, encouraging a bond that is both connecting yet entirely personal.

Also included in the exhibition is Sandara’s works for the 270 Million Project.  The 270 Million Project is a commitment to create 270 ink paintings resembling Rorschach tests, listening to only Lao music. These pieces explore Sandara’s relationship to being a Lao American: the longing to understand their roots and the conflict of being American and Lao. Each painting represents 1 million American cluster bombs dropped onto Laos during the Vietnam War. $100 of the first 135 painting sales will go to Legacies of Wars, a non-profit working on advocacy, education and funding the removal of unexploded bombs currently still in the country . The next $100 from each of the remaining 135 painting sales will go to COPE, a facility which aids in physical therapy for the thousands of people affected by the bombs after the war.  The gridded display of the paintings echos the idea of maps used to clear out the cluster bombs. With each sale there will be missing parts to the grid. Each missing spot represents the impact a community can have on empathizing and solving a problem if they come together. This work speaks to intergenerational trauma, the immigrant/refugee family experience, war, identity and resilience.

Raised for Legacies of Wars: $600 (updated November 2, 2020)

Raised for COPE:

About the artist:

Kim Sandara is a queer, Laotian/Vietnamese, artist from Northern Virginia and now based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2016, she graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with a BFA in General Fine Arts. She’s shown work at various DC community events. in 2019, the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ gift shop collaborated with her to create an event “Being” showcasing her work and guiding visitors to draw music. She has been featured in Visart’s Gen 5 exhibition, the Torpedo Factory’s 2019 Emerging Artists exhibition and the Washington Project for the Arts’ 2019 Auction Gala. In her Torpedo Factory summer 2019 Post-Grad Residency, she created a stop motion animation about her parent’s immigration story intersecting her coming out story. She used the studio space as a shop to fund raise for local and national LGBTQ+ non profits empowering queer youth. In her 2020 Bresler Residency at VisArts, she focused more on Lao identity work. She’s currently working on her graphic novel “Origins of Kin and Kang” about her coming out story and collaborating with Legacies of War to help fund removing the bombs left over from the Secret and Vietnam Wars from Laos. She is eager to integrate into creative, queer and Asian communities in Brooklyn.

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