San Francisco’s Fillmore district was once a vibrant African American community, known as “the Harlem of the West.” But in recent decades the Fillmore — like San Francisco as a whole — has witnessed a startling black exodus. A group of artists known as the 3.9 Art Collective are responding with work that both reminds us of San Francisco’s more diverse past and expresses their resistance to present trends. Their name comes from the percentage of African Americans that some predict will remain in the city by the time the next census takes place, in 2020.
The 3.9 Collective’s exhibition, Hiraeth: the 3.9 Collective Searches for Home at the University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery, runs until April 21, 2015. The Welsh word Hiraeth roughly translates to a longing for a far-off home — one that may not even exist or has been changed by time or idealized by memory.