We Plant Our Feet in the Sky

February 2024

What is ours to call home?
“We Plant Our Feet in the Sky” is a group exhibition showcasing mixed medium art, performance, and poetry exploring uncharted imagination extending beyond borders, and celebrating the complexities of our authentic lives. We imagine a world full of hopeful possibilities, one that is welcoming of our diasporic and queer identities in all of their fullness.

This exhibition and event is a celebration of ARTogether’s 2023 Artist Mentorship Hub, a collective of asylee, refugee, immigrant, and diasporic artists united together by planting roots in the sky. We invite you to join us in celebration of shared resilience, belonging, future possibilities, humor and joy, globally and locally.


Arina Sarwari-Stadnyk (she/they) is a queer Afghan-Ukrainian writer and printmaker on occupied Ohlone Lisjan land. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from UC Berkeley and is preparing to start an MFA in Creative Writing at SFSU this fall. Arina aspires to create work that reaches through the fabric of history to document the ways in which bodies and landscapes continue to reciprocally haunt one another. Her drawings, linocut prints, poems, and lyrical essays are concerned with the symbiosis of diasporic memory and intergenerational silence. In her free time, Arina enjoys skating, getting lost in bookstores, collecting strange trinkets, petting stray cats, and generally wreaking havoc. | Photo Credit: Sarah Dawson McClean

Dalar Alahverdi is a contemporary visual artist currently residing in California. Having grown up in Iran and being part of the Armenian diaspora, she navigates a hybrid cultural life. As a woman in a minority group, Dalar deeply understands the importance of social justice and freedom. Throughout her life, she has been captivated by discovering the untold stories of people, with a specific focus on immigrant narratives since she herself is an immigrant in the U.S. Dalar’s artwork delves into themes of displacement, immigration, and the quest for a sense of belonging. Her pieces often poignantly portray the struggles of individuals forced to leave their homeland, leaving behind possessions and loved ones. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Dalar has pursued training as an instructor. She holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Yerevan, Armenia, and another in art education from California. Passionate about opening new creative worlds to those interested in art, she enjoys guiding people through the realms of creation and experimentation | Photo Credit: Sarah Dawson McClean

Ipeleng Kgositsile is a writer, emerging solo-performer and comic of Black South African and Black American descent. Her current work focuses on finding funner, more empowering, life-affirming ways for children, tweens and teens of all ages—octogenarians included, to talk about tittays and disease (breast cancer) besides antiquated war metaphors of the late-1900s. Her ongoing work includes For Melba: A SeriousAF Love Story for Daughters, Black, Beloved & Coo-Coo an autobiographical coming-of-rage play about the absurdities of exile life during the global anti-apartheid era of the mid-1970s and later. She has performed excerpts of the play at The Marsh Theatre in San Francisco and Berkeley. Ipeleng’s past work includes writing magazine and newspaper articles about rap music, nightlife, girls and women’s issues for Paper, VIBE, The Source, ESSENCE, InStyle and others at the dawn of the Internet Era. Born and raised in NYC, she lives in Oakland, CA. | Photo Credit: Marika Hughes

Jy Jimmie Flora Gabiola (b. Manila, Philippines) is an interdisciplinary artist, creative strategist & digital marketer living and working in OAKLAND & SAN FRANCISCO. His practice reclaims personal & collective narratives surrounding the echoes of immigration. His work creates dialogue centered around the multiplicity of what being an American means today – oftentimes exploring the photo collage, portraiture, and visual poetics via digital, analog & alternative processes. Key themes of his personal work are related to the family photo album, postcolonialism, futurism & ethnic identity. | Photo Credit: Sarah Dawson McClean

Romina Zabihian is a visual artist and designer based in San Francisco whose artistic journey has been profoundly shaped by her life experiences. Born into a religious minority, the Bahá’í Faith, in Iran—a faith that has endured severe persecution for over four decades—she encountered various forms of discrimination, with one particularly egregious injustice being the denial of access to university. Her sole option was BIHE, an underground university established by the Bahá’í community, but it did not offer an art major. Consequently, she decided to study Psychology, a choice rooted in her deep fascination with human emotions and behavior—a subject that continues to influence her art and design to this day. Her background in psychology, combined with her firsthand experiences of discrimination as a woman and her observations of the plight of minorities both in Iran and the United States, has profoundly influenced her design and art projects. These experiences have deepened her grasp of the impact of injustice on both individual lives and the broader human experience. Through her art and design work, she hopes to inspire and provoke meaningful conversations about the human experience, resilience, and the pursuit of justice.

Valerie Win Liu is Burmese-Chinese-American Artist, Illustrator, and Designer from the Bay Area. They like to work with a variety of mediums: gouache, mixed media, sculpture, upcycled materials, digital tools and more. In their work, Valerie likes to explore themes such as Joy, Queerness, Humor, Curiosity, and Discovering ways to encourage/spotlight self expression. Liu likes to indulge in feelings like joy, nostalgia, found family, silliness, curiosity, and hope. Since their graduation from the Illustration program at California College of Art in San Francisco, Valerie has been taking steps into freelance, working with a variety of clients to bring their ideas and projects to life. They’ve collaborated and worked with clients such as HopeLab, the Emergency Medicine Foundation, and Stanford to create illustrations, murals and designs to be incorporated into their projects. More than anything, Liu loves creating art and building creative community around them.

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