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Abi Balingit, Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Erin Johnson, Sanika Phawde, Jane Wong, Shellie Zhang

Jan 31, 2021 – Feb 28, 2021
Curated By

***To receive a copy of this limited edition, 24-page print exhibition in your mailbox, email Each copy is $30 with 100% of proceeds going to Presente Maine.***


Ripe. Tender. Succulent. Firm, giving to the touch. It is said forbidden fruit brought us down to Earth, to live as we do now. So what is fruit, if not our humanity?

My grandfather would arrive home to Hong Kong from long trips abroad with cases upon cases of fresh fruit for his seven children. My father was known to hack a watermelon in half with a Chinese cleaver and take to it with a spoon in one sitting. When he married my mother, he was shocked the day he watched her with her paring knife peel and slice an apple for the family to share. How stingy, he always roars as he tells this story. Throwing his head back and laughing at the thought of it. He’s the one who taught me how to eat bags of dried, salted plums outside so we could spit the pits out of our mouths, kicking them into the air. Fruit in large, ample supply is a form of generosity and care. To feed and nourish, hydrate and fulfill. Peel back tender skin and find our flesh; fruit is lineage.

And so, we arrive at the word fruition – to bear fruit, to fully realize. How do we fully realize ourselves, where we come from, and where we are now? FRUITION asks what fruit means to us, how our roots, our bodies – the fruit of many labors – move in this world around us. FRUITION examines fruit and its place in the human and natural world.

Six artists, women from all over this continent, took action to ruminate upon any and all of the following: seed to sprout, tenderness, labor, land, movement, fruit as culture, fruit as slang, fruit as an offering to the spirits. Can fruit provide insight to our past while being a means to a more tender future? Let a study on fruit lead us there!

Blessings on our fruit and on each other,

Alana Dao 

Artist Bios

Abi Balingit is a Filipino baking blogger based in Brooklyn. She currently works at a music company called Bandsintown as an ad operations manager. She graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Media Studies and Business Administration in 2017. 

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an artist, writer, and co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective based in Oakland, California on occupied Ohlone land. Her work has been called a “joyous political critique.” As an artist, she has built and destroyed a border wall made of piñatas and patterned the walls of a castle conservatory with curry powder. Her first book, forthcoming from Kaya Press in 2021, is about the relationships that inspire and shape our creativity. See more of her work at and 

Erin Johnson‘s single and multi-channel video installations blend documentary, experimental, and narrative filmmaking devices and foreground the ways in which individual lives and sociopolitical realities merge. Comprised of footage of site-specific performances, the videos explore how power structures are communicated through relationships, focusing on histories of nationalism and place. She received an MFA and Certificate in New Media from UC Berkeley in 2013 and attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2019. 

Sanika Phawde is an illustrator, cartoonist and reportage artist working between Mumbai and New York. She is inspired by everyday life, instances of emotional connection between strangers, the conversations people have over food, and how experiences of food are influenced by immigration. 

Jane Wong grew up in a Chinese American restaurant on the Jersey shore. Her poems can be found in places such as Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, American Poetry Review, Agni, Poetry, Third Coast, and others. Her essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, Black Warrior Review, Ecotone, The Georgia Review, The Common, Shenandoah, and This is the Place: Women Writing About Home. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Willapa Bay AiR, Hedgebrook, the Jentel Foundation, and the Mineral School. She is the author of Overpour from Action Books, and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, which is forthcoming from Alice James in 2021. Her solo exhibition, After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly was featured at the Frye Art Museum in 2019. She teaches poetry and Asian American Studies at Western Washington University. 

Shellie Zhang is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Canada. By uniting both past and present iconography with the techniques of mass communication, language and sign, Zhang’s work deconstructs notions of tradition, gender, the diaspora, and popular culture while calling attention to these subjects in the context and construction of a multicultural society. She is interested in exploring how integration, diversity and assimilation is implemented and negotiated, how this relates to lived experiences, how culture is learned, relearned and sustained, and how things are remembered and preserved.

Curator Bio

Alana Dao is a mother, writer, and restaurant professional. Much of her practice explores the performance of race, socio-economic class, and gender through the lens of food. She is interested in contemporary cultural criticism, artistic motherhood, and intergenerational trauma. Currently, she is Co-Director of A CLEARING: A Maine Arts Community, an intentional space to create outside the traditional confines of the Western, masculine-centric canon. Her previous writing has been featured in The Chart, VICE, and the Huffington Post, among other publications.

She received a BA from Smith College and a MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Born in Texas, she resides in Portland, Maine which is in the traditional territory of Abenaki/Wabanaki land.

Art images, poetry, photography, and writing copyright © 2020 their credited authors. Copyright © 2020 Alana Dao. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher. 

All rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication and permissions must be gained through the contributors.

Printed by Pickwick Independent Press, Portland, Maine
January 2021

Cover art by Rachel Kobasa, Al Tomas
Cover text, cover design, and book layout by Pilar Nadal

Organized by Lia Wilson
Published by SPACE and Alana Dao

Are you a Maine artist looking to fund a project? Apply to our American Rescue Plan Project grant program today. Deadline: June 26th at 11:59 PM.