For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, (510) 981-7533

Images of East Oakland Youth Culture by Karna Kurata

Berkeley, California (Friday, June 10, 2011) - Karna Kurata, one of the most perceptive and adept photographers in the Bay Area, shares her latest project--- SCRAPER BIKES—Images of East Oakland Youth Culture. Trailing a crew of African American youth with customized bicycles, Kurata’s photographs provide a glimpse of innovative and independent Black cultural expression.

Oakland is the birthplace of the original Scraper Bike Movement, coined by Tyrone “Baybe Champ” Stevenson Jr. in 2006. This unique styled bicycle phenomenon has spawned into a global sensation, due to its music video, “Scraper Bikes” that went viral on YouTube with over 3 million views worldwide.

The bikes are inspired by “scrapers” -- cars with large chrome rims, which are commonly seen on the city’s streets. Stevenson adapted the idea to bicycles, putting large wheels on small frames and decorating them with colored tape, spray paint and other materials, such as cut aluminum cans and candy wrappers.

Some scraper bikes loaned by Baybe Champ will be on display in the Addison Street Windows Gallery along with Kurata’s photographs.

Whether portraying the lives of Mexican immigrant workers, coal miners and street children in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, or Black youth culture in Oakland, Kurata captures the soul of marginalized lives with incisive visual narrative. She frames her black & white stills with the astute eye of an impassioned painter or an epic filmmaker.

Exhibits in the Addison Street Windows Gallery, located on Addison Street between Milvia Street and Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley’s downtown Arts District, can be viewed 24 hours a day from the sidewalk, are free and wheelchair accessible.

For more information, contact:

Karna Kurata/ photographer             

Greg Morozumi/ curator                     

Sponsored by the Civic Arts Program of the City of Berkeley in cooperation with the Civic Arts Commission.