Exhibit at SF's de Young Museum tells story of 2020 through artists' eyes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We will not be forgetting 2020 for the rest of our lives.

History books will tell it one way, but the artists?

Imagine a room filled with our tribulations from 2020, hanging from the walls. It has become reality at San Francisco's de Young Museum.

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"It is so powerful that I am trying to not cry," said artist Linda Shroeter. "It became very personal when my son came down with COVID-19."

"We thought we would get a few hundred submissions. But, we had 11,500 thousand submissions," explained the de Young's Thomas Campbell.

Fewer than one in ten made the cut as the museum held only its fourth "open" call in 125 years.

The bulk of those submissions came from unknown artists.

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"The sum is an amazing cross-section, a crystallization of our hopes and fears."

Among the themes, coronavirus and Black Lives Matter.

"Did they have to put it so high?" we asked Andrea McCoy Harvey, an artist who teaches elementary school kids in the East Bay. We found her portrait, called Afro Goddess, hung near the top of the tall ceiling.

"This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me as an artist. She is the epitome of every strong, Black woman living and passed away."

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You're likely to find every artistic medium, here. From porcelain masks, to sculptures, to photography by San Franciscan Ron Saunders. There are no faces in his work.

"They are silhouettes but you cannot tell if they are emerging or disappearing. That was done intentionally."

On the subject of emerging, Darren Naylor took up art seriously one year ago. Now his work hangs in the De Young. "It is called learn Empathy," he said of the work which depicts a White man looking in a mirror, and a Black man looking back.

"Most people look in a mirror and try not to see the issues others are dealing with. If we did, the world would be a better place."

The exhibit runs through January.
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