Adriel Luis Curator of Digital & Emerging Practice

As the Curator of Digital and Emerging Practice, I focus on how human and ecological culture are informed by the adoption and evolution of technology and digital space. I'm especially interested in how the internet contributes to the development of arts practice, social movements, transnational identities, media representation, and global racial dynamics. At the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, I'm dedicated to widening discourse on communities that have long been marginalized in the field of Asian Pacific American Studies (LGBTQ, Pacific Islander, Central Asian, transnational, refugee communities).

Geographic Focus

Professional Biography

  • Adriel Luis is a community organizer who is driven by the belief that social justice can be achieved through surprising, imaginative and loving approaches to art. Currently, he tours the world with his band iLL-Literacy using music and spoken word to strengthen Black and Asian American coalitions in colleges; is creative director of Bombshelltoe, which works with artists to highlight marginalized communities affected by nuclear history; and collaborates with dozens of artists and community organizations through his curate and design company Phenomenoun. Adriel is the Curator of Digital and Emerging Practice at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he pushes for emerging artists of color to be shown and paid fairly by museums. He and his team has been curating Culture Labs — an alternative to museum exhibitions, built on community organizing principles.

    Adriel has recently curated shows at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D.C., the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, and an abandoned supermarket in Honolulu. His writing has appeared in Poetry Magazine, the Asian American Literary Review, and Smithsonian Magazine. He has spoken at the Tate Modern, Yale University, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the China Academy of Fine Arts. His performance venues include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, SXSW, the John F. Kennedy Center, and the American University of Paris. His design clients include Hasan Minhaj, Youth Speaks, and UC Berkeley. He has a bachelor of sciences from UC Davis in Community and Regional Development with a focus on ethnic studies. In 2018 he was inducted into the National Trust for Historic Preservation's  People Saving Places inaugural fellowship.

    Adriel is at his best when he’s traveling the world, eating delicious food and building bridges in the global creative community. He’s based in a Washington D.C., has lived in New York and Beijing, but has never forgotten his roots in the California Bay Area. Find him everywhere as @DRZZL.