Q&A With Rasta Dave On Growing Up In The Excelsior District

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Everyday Bay Area artist Rasta Dave’s work can be found in the Pop-Up Shop accompanying the exciting new exhibit re:home, which is “a For Freedoms exhibition exploring the plight of political and economic refugees in the San Francisco Bay Area—examining sanctuary city, homelessness, and the flight of the creative class.”

We did a short interview with Rasta Dave and asked him about his home, the Excelsior District of San Francisco.

Q: For you, the Excelsior District in San Francisco is home. What do you think of when you think of the Excelsior and what makes it feel like home to you?

A: With my friends, it’s like a brotherhood. I’m always just so comfortable being in that neighborhood. All the ethnicities -- whether you’re Muslim, Palestinian, or Hawaiian, or any other race -- we just come together like a family. The whole world should be like my hood. It would be a better place. It’s home. We’re like brothers. I love it. The hood.

Q: What do you want people to take away (or see) about the Excelsior District through looking at your photographs?

A: Just the community - we’re all each other’s uncles. All the kids have like 50 uncles because we all take care of each other. It’s just beautiful. The brotherhood is so unique there. It’s family. Everyone knows each others parents and kids. It’s like a huge family, a community. People used to say we’re a gang or something. We’re not a gang; we’re just a bunch of dudes who grew up together and went to the park and played sports and then grew up into street life, having to deal with the ins and outs of living in the city. But we always had each other’s back and that’s what I love about my hood.

Q: As a lifelong San Franciscan, what changes, better or worse, have you seen in the city over the years?

A: There’s a lot of change, for sure, but it’s been happening since the Gold Rush days. People come here and they’re looking for opportunities. A lot of people don’t like it and they call it whatever they want to call it, like hipsters or invaders, but it’s just a part of life. It’s gotten better. It’s safer, I think, but there’s too many people now. It’s getting so packed, but it is what it is. It’s city life. People want to come to a city for opportunity and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Prints of some of Rasta Dave’s Excelsior work are for sale in the Pop-Up Shop portion of re:home. 50% of proceeds from the proceeds from the sales of his work will go towards CHALK, an organization that Rasta Dave has been a long-time supporter of. The re:home exhibit is on view in Gallery 200 at Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood until December 29th.

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