The world is ending. Life as we know it is over. Everything has changed.

This is what 2020 feels like for so many of us: depressing, bleak, and permanently transformed. And why wouldn’t we feel this? We are in the middle of a global pandemic, living in the haze of relentless wildfires in a gentrified city and region that has become unaffordable for all but the most wealthy. There is a lot to be fearful of, and angry about, right now.

And yet… our lives continue. Every day that we wake up, move our bodies, and connect with others in person or over screens is a confirmation of our presence and our fortitude. While this moment may seem apocalyptic, we must remember that we are not alone in our struggles. We must remember that our people—Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer and Trans—have made it through wars, migrations, floods and fires, illnesses, imprisonment, and even death. Our communities, our families, us: we have been, and continue to be, resilient and resourceful! After life as we know it has ended: We remain. We survive. We resist. And we still create moments of joy.

The artists you see presented here are also survivors and witnesses to our difficult times. They offer us ways of recognizing our ancestors’ survival strategies that we may have forgotten. They inspire us to interact differently with other people, animals, plants, and the environment so that we can live in right relationship with one another. Finally, they dream of and fight for a future that is more humane, hopeful, and livable than our present reality.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for imagining that another world is possible.

AFTER LIFE can be experienced in-person, for free and socially-distanced, by walking outdoors around the YBCA building. The exhibition is best viewable at twilight or early evening. A virtual 3D walkthrough and exclusive content, including additional artworks, digital experiences, and artist-curator conversations, can be accessed online at YBCA.org

How does connecting with your community confirm your fortitude? Tell us on Instagram or Twitter using #AfterLifeYBCA