Advocacy Group’s Exhibition Traces Its Origins and Mission

"Inner Quarters," representation of massage parlor work space. Red Canary Song, “Calling Out,” Abrons Arts Center, 2022. Photo: Olympia Shannon.

Our Inner Quarters: Spaces of Work & Care is curated by Yin Q and Chong Gu of Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies of the Asian diaspora. The exhibition, presented by NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, and Intersectional Feminist/Queer Studies Collective, will be on view at 20 Cooper Square, first floor gallery, from Tuesday, October 31 through Friday, December 8, 2023, with an opening reception on Monday, October 30.

This exhibition, complemented by events on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, reconstructs intimate body work space and traces the origins and core community of Red Canary Song (RCS), based in Flushing, Queens, through installation, everyday objects, oral history recordings, video, artwork, and a library of zines and books by RCS core members and allied community members.

Exhibition Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12:00-6:00 p.m. and by appointment. See A/P/A webpage for details or contact or 212.998.3700.

Monday, October 30, 6-8 p.m.

Opening Reception: Our Inner Quarters: Spaces of Work & Care
20 Cooper Square, first floor gallery

The curators and members of Red Canary Song (RCS), the grassroots collective of migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies of the Asian diaspora lead a walk through the Our Inner Quarters: Spaces of Work & Care exhibition. Traditional Korean fare will be offered.

To register, please visit the event page

Tuesday, November 28 , 7-9 p.m.

Fly in Power: Screening & Discussion
20 Cooper Square, 101

In conjunction with the exhibition, Our Inner Quarters: Spaces of Work & Care, the exhibition organizers present a screening of the documentary Fly in Power.

The film, by RCS members Yin Q and Yoon Grace Ra, follows Charlotte, a Korean massage worker and core organizer of Red Canary Song. Through her story, the viewers learn how the incarceration system is pitted against Asian migrant women and their survival. Other RCS members, including Khokhoi, a young body worker, and Brown University Professor Elena Shih share powerful insights that aim to debunk the myths of sex trafficking. Fly in Power is a glimpse into the intimate spaces that not only connect these workers, but is also seen as a testament to the global advocacy of women’s rights to work and thrive. This is the first film to center the narrative of an Asian massage worker in her own words, with her own agency of storytelling and editing.

The screening is followed by a discussion with filmmakers and cast members Charlotte, Yeonhoo Cho, and Yin Q.

To register, please visit the event page.

Tuesday, December 5 , 6-8 p.m.

Sex/Work in a Global Frame
20 Cooper Square, 101

A roundtable and performance to mark the closing of the exhibition. Featuring Kamala Kempadoo (York University), Angelique Nixon (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine), Yin Q. (Red Canary Song and Kink Out), and Elena Shih (Brown University & Red Canary Song).

To register, please visit the event page.

For more information, email or call 212.998.3700.

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About Red Canary Song

Red Canary Song’s work centers on mutual aid and decriminalization of labor.

RCS formed in response to the death of Yang Song, a migrant Chinese massage worker who fell to her death from a fourth floor window during a police raid in November 2017. RCS rallied to protest the police, provide mutual aid to the family of Yang Song and other Asian massage and sex workers, and to advocate for decriminalization of unlicensed massage work and sex work.

Through the pandemic, RCS provided workers with mutual aid including groceries, legal assistance, funds, and translation services. In March 2021 in Georgia, a gunman targeting Asian massage workers killed eight people. RCS faced the tragedy by gathering communities together to mourn and providing assistance to the survivors.

The RCS vigils, attended by thousands of guests, in person and virtually, bring together workers and allies—communities across a diverse range of ethnic, gender, economic, and political orientations—to participate in art activations and cultural rituals of healing. RCS’s inter-community events mark the celebrations of the Moon Festival and Lunar New Year with kimchi and dumpling making, as well as hong bao (red envelopes filled with money).

Its past art exhibitions and media have focused on the narratives and identities of migrant massage workers, as Red Canary Song is dedicated to uplifting those with the least access to systemic privilege.

Press Contact

James Devitt
James Devitt
(212) 998-6808