Bay Area Walls commission
March 7–September 6, 2021
Erina Alejo’s photo-based project responds to the storefront murals and signage that appeared in San Francisco during the pandemic. Exploring themes of legacy and family, Alejo tells personal, incisive stories of Bay Area life that provoke larger conversations about the simmering tensions and injustices profoundly felt in these urban spaces.
For My Ancestors Followed Me Here, Alejo traversed the 7.2-mile span of San Francisco’s Mission Street on foot to understand changes taking place in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Their process of photographing and genuinely connecting with different cross sections of people and places informs their ongoing research into the complex dynamics of gentrification and displacement.
By documenting these murals and people, Alejo preserves the visual conversation taking place within our local communities. Constantly evolving, these living walls reflect collective activism and resistance. A metaphor for their practice, the murals bear witness to an intergenerational layering of histories and make way for new narratives.
Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the SFMOMA Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Generous support is provided by the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Additional support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Oya and Bulent Eczacibasi, and Linda and Jon Gruber in memory of Gretchen Berggruen.