Radical Return

Radical Return
November 8 – December 12, 2021
Stone Gallery

On view simultaneously at
IS A GALLERY (Shanghai, China)

Curated by
Mary Yang & Zhongkai Li

Radical Characters invites those who identify as Chinese or Chinese American graphic designers to submit original work for Radical Return. This exhibition will be on view simultaneously at Boston University Art Galleries and IS A GALLERY in Shanghai, China.*


Deadline for submissions: September 7, 2021

– Type of work: graphic design and typography (English and/or Chinese)

– No submission fee

– 3 submissions max per person


The first exhibition, Radical Return, draws inspiration from the Chinese character “回” (huí) or “return”. 回 (huí) means to return, to turn around, to circle or to reply. To return implies movement, but the character must choose the direction. Why return to something? To return to something, someone, or somewhere requires one to retrace a path. What path do you seek to retrace as a Chinese or Chinese American designer?

Consider the three strokes used to write 回.

“Drop” 竖 (shù). Consider which position you are in now, which position you want to return to, and which position you need to retrace.

“Fold” 横折 (héng zhé). Why are you returning? Is there a narrative you seek to reclaim? Is there a cultural tradition you want to reform for future generations?

“Join” 横 (héng).

To return, in all its forms, affects the fundamental nature of the character within us. So what does it mean for you to make a Radical Return?


Submission instructions:

1. Download the 回 grid template (Illustrator or InDesign). Use 回 as a grid—visually and conceptually—to frame your response to the exhibition theme.
2. Fill out the Google Form and upload your submission.
3. If you do not have access to Google, please email radicalcharacters@gmail.com the following:

– Full name, email, pronouns, and location: city, state/province (if applicable), country

– 24 × 24 in. JPG at 300 dpi in CMYK grayscale image mode (keep in mind your submission may be published at a smaller scale). Do not include the grid layer. Failure to meet these requirements will affect your consideration.

– 100–150 word statement about each submission


Email questions to radicalcharacters@gmail.com. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! Your contribution is important to us and our community. We hope to have the opportunity to work with you. If you’re not selected for this exhibition, please keep in touch. We will have events and opportunities to collaborate in the future.

* IS A GALLERY is an independent gallery space located in Jing’an District, Shanghai. The gallery is located at the site of the Shanghai Institute of Printing Technology, which was the birthplace of modern Chinese typefaces in China as well as the first type foundry in China founded in 1962.