hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of Art Practical using Archive-It. This page was captured on 23:27:56 Jan 25, 2021, and is part of the Art Practical and Daily Serving collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Episode 11: Sydney Cain with PJ Gubatina Policarpio

Notes from MoAD

Episode 11: Sydney Cain with PJ Gubatina Policarpio

By PJ Gubatina Policarpio April 15, 2020

Notes from MoAD is dedicated to the Museum of the African Diaspora’s Emerging Artist Program, giving the exhibiting artists an opportunity to discuss their featured exhibition at MoAD and how their art practice is in dialogue with contemporary art as it considers themes of the African diaspora.

This is Notes from MoAD: Emerging Artists and Critic Series, dedicated to the Museum of African Diaspora’s 2018-20 Emerging Artist Program. In this episode, visual artist Sydney Cain and curator/organizer PJ Gubatina Policarpio meditate on the vision and process that inspire Cain’s upcoming show Refutations at Museum of African Diaspora. Cain, a third-generation San Franciscan, talks about living and making art in the city, reclaiming its Black past, present, and future. 

Refutations is an ongoing body of work exploring ancestral memory and the power of Black myth. The project includes various multimedia series of artwork, publications, and exhibitions emerging from personal genealogy research alongside process documentation through photography and drawing. Through play between ephemerality and figurative representation, Cain teases resistance against erasure while also celebrating metamorphoses that occur in the voids of invisibility. The work is an exploration in the perimeters of both existing and not existing through imaginative landscapes. 

Due to the current world health crisis, the Museum of the African Diaspora is currently closed. They are closely monitoring the changing status of COVID-19 and taking the necessary steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease. All exhibitions have been postponed until further notice, including Sydney Cain: Refutations. For all updates on openings, please visit www.moadsf.org or follow MoAD on social media @moadsf.


Sydney Cain was born and raised in San Francisco. Her multimedia work is largely on paper using dye, graphite, powdered metals, and chalk as emblems of impermanence and transformation. She investigates remembrance, evolution and spirituality from her perspective as a queer Black woman. The encoded language of DNA is deciphered through the practice of drawing contributing to the concept of collective Black mythos. Her current work is founded on genealogy research alongside the effects of urban renewal/colonialism and threats against Black afterlives. Cain has exhibited throughout the Bay Area including SOMArts, Betti Ono, Ashara Ekundayo Gallery, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco Arts Commission, and the African American Arts and Culture Complex.

PJ Gubatina Policarpio is an educator, writer, curator, and community organizer. He is dedicated to making visible and undeniable the critical contributions of queer, Indigenous, diasporic im/migrant artists, and artists of color through research, writing, programming, and exhibitions. PJ has organized readings, exhibitions, publications, and public programs at Southern Exposure, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Public Library, Asian Art Museum, Dixon Place, NURTUREart, and other unnameable spaces. He is co-founder of Pilipinx American Library (PAL), an itinerant collection and programming platform dedicated exclusively to Filipinx perspectives. Born in the Philippines, PJ lives and works between San Francisco and New York City; the Ramaytush Ohlone and Lenape homelands.


  1. Cover image: Sydney Cain. The Presentation, 2020; pigment, charcoal, and acrylic on dyed paper; 64 x 42 in. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: John Janca.

Comments ShowHide

Related Content