An ongoing project launched by Sifuentes for the 2016 election, The Official Unofficial Voting Station invites all people to participate at multiple locations nationwide—and, for the first time in 2020, online as well. Initially planned as a gallery installation, The Official Unofficial Voting Station is presented by the Skirball as a digital experience in light of the ongoing closure of California museums due to COVID-19. It will be free and accessible at skirball.org/voting-station from October 1 through November 30, 2020. To complement the online experience, Sifuentes is collaborating with Los Angeles–based artists and educators Marianne Sadowski and Carol Zou to lead pop-up, in-person activities in neighborhoods across the city. Information about these pop-ups, which will take place in the run-up to the election, will be announced.
“The continued expansion of American enfranchisement is core to the democratic ideals that inspire the Skirball’s mission to build a more just society,” said Jessie Kornberg, Skirball President and CEO. “We are honored to present the work of Aram Han Sifuentes, whose aspirational voting station envisions how our community might thrive when every voice counts, no matter how young the voter or how new the American.”
A MULTIPART COLLABORATION
The Official Unofficial Voting Station represents the next phase of the Skirball’s 2020–2021 collaboration with the artist. This past summer, as part of her ongoing project Protest Banner Lending Library, the artist led two sold-out online workshops in which participants learned to create their own fabric protest banners. In November, Sifuentes will lead a hands-on workshop specially designed for children and families. In the fall of 2021, the Skirball will open Talking Back to Power: Projects by Aram Han Sifuentes, which will feature a selection of Sifuentes’s work, including Protest Banner Lending Library and her participatory embroidery project, U.S. Citizenship Sampler.
“We are honored to work with Aram Han Sifuentes over the coming year and to join her in exploring forms of civic participation and belonging,” remarked Skirball curator Laura Mart. “With The Official Unofficial Voting Station, we urge everyone, whether you can legally vote or not, to cast a symbolic ballot, make your voice heard, and confront questions at the heart of Sifuentes’s body of work: Who has, and who doesn’t have, the power to make decisions in our democracy? And what would our elections look like if people who cannot vote could?”
In addition to the Skirball’s online presentation of The Official Unofficial Voting Station, Sifuentes has mounted the work on site at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University in Texas, as part of the group exhibition States of Mind: Art and American Democracy (opening September 18); and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, as part of Citizenship: A Practice of Society (opening October 2).