In anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, the Skirball Cultural Center presents “The Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t.” Conceived by artist-activist Aram Han Sifuentes, this online exhibition reimagines the act of voting as it could be: broad, inclusive, and cause for celebration.
The playfully designed polling place welcomes everyone to cast a symbolic ballot — regardless of the legal barriers that prevent approximately ninety-two million people in the United States from participating in elections. Visitors to the site can choose their candidate for US President, weigh in on the ways they think voting access should be expanded, and name the issues that matter most to them.
As ballots are cast, the site will keep a running tally, revealing over time the participants’ values and visions for the future of America. Participants will be eligible to receive by mail the artist’s custom Voting Stickers for All, clever infographics about US voting rights, and an advocacy toolkit — all created to inspire public support for greater access to the vote.
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 Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.
“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.”
Sifuentes is a fiber, social practice, and performance artist who works to claim spaces for immigrant and disenfranchised communities. As the daughter of a seamstress and an immigrant herself, Sifuentes often creates work that revolves around skill sharing — specifically sewing techniques — to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, conversation, subversion of oppressive power structures, and protest.
She has presented her work in exhibitions, performances, and workshops at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO), Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago, IL), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum (Seoul, KR), and the Design Museum (London, UK).
Sifuentes is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Loyola University Chicago.