By Tom LaVenture
SAN FRANCISCO (May 3, 2021) — A Bay Area artist who painted a mural with a stop violence against Asians message on a wall at her Motor Master workplace in Sunnyvale, followed up with an April 25 unveiling with coworkers and community.
The diversity of San Francisco is its beauty and strength, said Yijun Ge, the mural artist who collaborated with Motor Master to launch the “Love and Respect” mural and movement that aims to encourage Asian community stand up against racial discrimination. Around 60 participants were involved in the activity which is what Yijun said made it very successful.
“I have a special attachment to Sunnyvale for a few reasons,” Yijun said.
Sunnyvale is considered the safest city in America with violent crime rates well below the national average, she said. Sunnyvale has a Hindu temple, a winery, a museum, but most of all the people have “pure hearts,” she said.
All of these things have made Sunnyvale an amazing place to live, she said. But the increasing violence against Asians has spread fear even to this seemingly safest of communities.
Yijun said her love of painting was the healthiest outlet for self-expression as she grew despondent from the increasing reports of violence toward Asians. The reaction of silence added to her anxiety about living in a place that had always felt was safe.
Creating a mural depicting this moment is a public appeal to others, she said. Art connects people she wants this mural to arouse public awareness in a way that demands change in the form of protecting people.
“That they should stand out and have a voice by saying, please stop this madness, we are friends,” Yijun said. “I wanted to utilize my mural to further the theme of stopping Asian violence, to achieve a higher purpose and be a window to the transcendent.”
The concept is based on several elements that involve color, shape and lines, she said. Color can always conjure emotion.
Pink portrays certain characteristics such as innocence, wonder and creativity, but also represents timidity. Blue is a cooler color to convey seriousness, intelligence and responsibility. The black and white grid shapes stand for elegance. The shapes and lines become the language of the mural that represent artistic style.
The medium is a black spray paint under layer with oil paint on top.
“I painted the house to represent San Francisco,” Yijun said.
The left wall is an abstract painting, and the upper pink and green striping is the ceiling. The right side is a window, and the floor is of black and white shapes. The cloud at the center is the ever present San Francisco fog.
Yijun chose herself as the model for the center of the mural.
“The city is diverse with a variety of different colored flowers in the garden to represent how unique and strong we are,” Yijun said. “Asians are family members of the community and they are also shining under the sun. Please value the uniqueness of colors, because no matter what kind, they are just as beautiful as any of the creations by the creator in the universe. We all are one.”
Danlin Huang, a management consultant and blogger with the Chinese social media outlet, Red, said the mural is an important way to inspire and encourage more young adults to speak up against social injustices and racism.
The mural unveiling featured guest speakers from various social organizations involved in uniting the “power of social media to advocate the idea of how love and respect can make the world a better place.”
Yijun Ge was born in Xiang Yang, in the province of Hubei, China. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Hubei Institute of Fine Art, where she also taught art workshops for oil painting, charcoal drawing and printmaking. She received an MFA in painting from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her work has been included in local group shows and she is currently a commission artist for private and public companies.
Motor Master is the first and only chain auto group in the Bay Area. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Motor Master donated personnel protective equipment to China and to nonprofit organizations in the U.S.