Yukiyo Kawano is a third generation atomic-bomb survivor who examines that legacy by doing installation work that includes a large-scale fabric replica of the Fat Man/Little Boy nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. When the tsunami hit Japan, the Portland-based artist stayed glued to her radio as the Japanese government news station (NHK) broadcast coverage of the disaster 24/7. The radio served as her soundtrack as she thought of this current disaster with memories of another nuclear tragedy decades before inHiroshima and Nagasaki. That and her memory of her grandmother’s kimono now unstitched and free from constraint. One sees multiple images of this family heirloom drawn with ink on paper surviving through turbulent waves of rain, bombs, floods, fire, smoke and devastation lining the walls. To the left, on a small stand is a carefully constructed horizontal scroll of details on how the U.S designed and manufactured the bomb that seems wrapped in a haze of snow-white cloth like a sacred offering. Hung from the low ceiling, looming large is a sculptural replica of the atomic bomb which dominates the space with a gloom that resonates. The show is on view through May 8th. The work of Karen Garret de Luna, Carina del Rosario and Melissa Nolledo, three Northwest-based Filipina photographers is on view from May 12th – May 29th. Opening reception is Wed., May 14th from 5 – 7pm. M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery at Seattle Central Community College.1701 Broadway on Capitol Hill. Open Mon. – Fri. (206) 934-4379 or go to seattlecentral.edu/artgallery.
“Crossing Boundaries” (Co-curated by Cheryl Leo-Gwin and Barbara Jirsa) is a group show that traces the evolution of printmaking – from traditional, digital and everything in between as we enter the 21st century. Features work by Patti Warashina, Norie Sato, Roger Shimomura, Cheryl Leo-Gwin, Lisa Hasegawa, Romson Bustillo and many other Northwest artists. The show remains on view till April 25th. At the Commons Gallery in Sammamish City Hall at 801 – 228th Ave. SE in Sammamish, Washington.
“Passage to the Future: Art from a New Generation in Japan” gives us a chance to see new work by younger Japanese artists. But hurry as it won’t be up long. Shown as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival. April 19th – 27th. Open daily. Some artists to look out for include Maywa Denki who conceives her work as an industrial product, Masafumi Sanai who is a well -known commercial photographer and Tabaimo who looks at contemporary society using animation/installation made of common ordinary products. Seattle Center Pavilion at 305 Harrison St. in Seattle Center. (206) 684-7200 or go to seattlecenter.com.
Negar Farajiani is a mixed-media Iranian artist who creates portraits that resemble puzzles for faces. See the work April 18th – May 17th. Opening reception is Fri., April 18th from 6 – 8pm. MIA Gallery at 1203 Second Ave. downtown. Open Tues. – Sat. (206)467-4297 or go to m-i-a-gallery.com.
“New Paintings + Works on Paper” is a show of new work by Seattle artist Thuy-Van Vu (see related article in this issue) is on view at G. Gibson Gallery through April 21st. Vu is known for her poetic watercolors of mundane objects and ruined houses. 300 South Washington in Pioneer Square. (206) 587-4033 or email [email protected].
“Facets Of Life” is a group show featuring local ethnic artists Humaira Abid, Stewart Wong, Sabah Al-Dhaher, Esther Ervin and Gail Tremblay currently on view till June 29, 2014. Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery on the 6th Floor Plaza of Seattle Municipal Tower located at 700 Fifth Ave. For details, go to www.seattle.gov/EthnicArtGallery.
New and recent shows due to open at the Wing include the following – There will be a public preview for “RESIST – Asian American Acts of Struggle” on May 1st at 6pm. There will be a short program at 6:30pm. RSVP is suggested by emailing [email protected] or by calling (206) 623-5124. Free. The show remains on view through Jan. 18th, 2015. Wing Luke also co-sponsors a new exhibition “Voices of Nisei Veterans” at the Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) Hall with a Special Preview at the inaugural opening from 11 – 4pm on Sunday, May 4th.. Oral history testimonies and rare collections tell the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after World War II. Preview these alongside a new traveling exhibition entitled “Nisei Veteran: Common Story, Common Bond” which comes with a program at 2pm. The NVC Hall is located at. A recent show entitled “transit in half-light: Lead Pencil Studio encounters The Wing’s collection” features the work of the art team of Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo. They offer an installation that integrates artifacts from the museum collection into dream-like landscapes that brings up a dialogue about migration, transit, material extraction, and labor. The artists/architects will give an exclusive tour of the installation on Sat., June 28th at 1:30pm. $10 general admission and $8 for members. On view till July 14th. Family Fun Day for April 17th brings artist Mizu Sugimura who will show you how to create delicate frames and origami ball-shapes for your favorite Asian American icon inspired by current show, “#iconic”. Free. Family Fun Day for May 17th at 1pm is a kid-friendly arts & crafts workshop on the ancient art of kiri-e, a Japanese art form of paper cutting. Free. Family Fun Day activity for Sat., June 21st at 1pm will feature fiber arts artist and community activist Laura Wong-Whitebear who will teach participants how to weave your very own miniature mat. Still on view is “#iconic: Power and Pop Culture” which explores how Asian American pop icons are made and what it means to look up to – or challenge – these figures. “Hometown Desi: South Asian Culture in the Pacific Northwest” is a semi-permanent display that opened Oct. 3. It will explore the history of South Asians in this area up to the present. On display through Oct. 19, 2014 is “Grit: Asian Pacific Pioneers Across the Northwest”. Stories of pioneers and trailblazers who persisted through challenges of natural disasters, racial discrimination and violence to carve out a home in this new territory. The Museum holds a “Member Appreciation Day: An Afternoon in Chiyo’s Garden” as a special thank you. This is a newly created garden in Japantown, named in honor/memory of Chiyo Murakami. Enjoy tea and refreshments with lead designer Yuko Kunugi and John Bisbee and Binko Chiong-Bisbee of KOBO at Higo. This event takes place on May 17th from 1 – 3:30pm. The garden is located behind KOBO at Higo. The Museum offers a “Songs of Willow Frost Tour” based on the latest novel by author Jamie Ford set for Sat., May 24th & May 31st at 3pm. “Summer Camp @ The Wing” offers the following activities – August 4th & 5th brings “Puppets: Shadows And Light” where participants explore the art of puppetry through storytelling, performance and hands-on workshops. August 11th – 15th is “Moving Art: The Journey” looks at art that moves with us from skateboards to kites and other things. You must register for summer camp activites by July 20th, 2014. Go to wingluke.org/summer-camp or call (206) 623-5124 x 116.The Wing is at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“The Way of the Brush” is the first of a year- long celebration and focus on Asian influences in the arts. Brush paintings and work influenced by that tradition are the focus of work by Karen Dedrickson, Louise Kikuchi, Fumiko Kimura, Alan Lau, Patsy Surh O’Connell and Akio Takamori. On view till May 14th. At Lakeshore retirement home located at 11448 Rainier Ave. S. in Seattle. Go to eraliving.com for details. Guest-curated by MalPena Chan with help from June Sekiguchi. This show will continue on at a future exhibition at UW Haborview Hospital (details later).
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – On view through June 29, 2014 is “INKED – Wan Qingli”. This artist trained during the Cultural Revolution, uses a sharp wit and brush to match to address contemporary social ills with playful brush strokes full of humor and universal themes. On view till June 28, 2014 is “Hometown Boy: Liu Xiaodong”. Now heralded as one of China’s renowned contemporary artists, Lui grew up in a small industrial town before moving to Beijing. As a mature artist he returns to his hometown to find childhood friends still struggling, undeveloped rice paddies and his parents’ house still the same. Now an outsider, he captures the nuances of small town life in a typical Chinese town. (206) 654-3210 or visit tickets.seattleartmuseum.org/public. 1400 E. Prospect St. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays. (206) 654-3100 for general information.
“Colored Vases” is the first work by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei acquired by Seattle Art Museum. The artist took ancient earthenware vases and dipped them in buckets of industrial paint allowing them to drip dry. By covering the surfaces with a new paint, what is underneath – like history itself – is “no longer visible, but is still there.” The irony is that they play on the question on and question authenticity issues that the artist likes to raise in today’s market for Chinese Art. On view for now at Seattle Asian Art Museum Foster Galleries in Volunteer Park. 1400 E. Prospect. (206) 654-3100.
The Frye Art Museum has a show entitled “Isamu Noguchi And Qi Baishi – Beijing 1930”. The show documents a period of six months when the Japanese American artist spent six months in Beijing where he studied with the modern Chinese brush painting master. Includes forty-five works by Noguchi and twenty-three works by Qi Baishi. February 22nd – May 25th. A parallel exhibit entitled “Mark Tobey and Teng Baiye – Seattle/Shanghai” looks at the relationship between contemporary American artist Mark Tobey who met Chinese artist Teng Baiye when the latter was a student at UW. Tobey studied Chinese calligraphy with him and the show considers what influence this had on Tobey’s own abstract work. Paintings by both men are on display. UPS Professor of Art Zaixin Hong will talk about his research on finger painting in the Chinese tradition and expressionist experimentation in the context of the Chinese avant-garde in a lecture entitled “Teng Baiye, Finger Painting, And New Norms in Modern Art Movements” on April 17th at 7pm. Free tickets can be picked up on the information desk one hour prior to the start of the program. No late seating allowed. A class entitled “Introduction to Ink and Brush Paintings will be offered April 27th – May 18th as well. 704 Terry. Alexandra Snyder May gives a talk entitled “Isamu Noguchi and His Teachers” on Thur., April 24th in the Frye Auditorium. May, former Associate Director of the Isamu Noguchi Museum will speak about Noguchi and the teachers he chose during his artistic development, shedding light on his brief encounter with Qi Baishi. Call (206) 622-9250 or go to fryemuseum.org.
“Who You Were, Who You Are, Where Are You Now?” is a group show of portrait-making curated by City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection curator Deborah Paine from their vast reserves. On view through July 1st. Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery at 700 Fifth Ave. on the Third Floor. Open Mon. – Fri. (206) 684-7132 or go to seattle.gov/arts/publicart/municipal_tower.asp.
The first exhibition held outside Japan dedicated to Japanese Art Deco entitled “Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920 – 1945” comes to Seattle Asian Art Museum May 10th – Oct. 19th. 1400 E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. There will be a SAM Members Viewing of this show on May 15th from 10am – 9pm. Kendall H. Brown, curator of the show will talk to art collector Robert Levenson about the show on April 15th at 7pm. “Deco Day” on Sat., May 17th from 9:30am – 3:30pm at Asian Art Museum will explore Deco style as it travels across continents and media. Five speakers present Art Deco in its Japanese, European, and American forms: and in media from architecture to anime. Go to this link for details – visitsam.org/decoday. Xiaojin Wu, SAM’s Associate Curator of Japanese and Korean Art will give a talk about the show on April 21st at 7pm. This talk takes place at Seattle Art Museum downtown. Tickets for all events can be purchased online. “Nature and Pattern in Japanese Design” is a related exhibition in two parts that will be shown at Seattle Art Museum downtown. Part 1 is now on view till August 3rd , 2014. Part 2 begins August 16th, 2014 and continues till April 19th, 2015. Visitsam.org. (206) 654-3100.
Bellevue Arts Museum presents the traveling exhibit “Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami” from May 16th – September 21st. Though this art form originated in Japan, this exhibit reveals how that form has evolved through the participation of modern artists from around the world. Over 140 works from international artists takes this traditional art form and pushes it into the future. A series of related events throughout the run of the exhibition are planned including talks by Lillian Mihara on May 17 at 1pm and Vanessa Gould on June 6th at 6:30pm. Festival Folding with PAPER takes place on Saturdays from 1 – 3pm on June 7th, July 12th, August 2nd and September 13th. Following the origami show is “The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942 – 1946”, A Smithsonian traveling exhibit curated by Delphine Hirasuna. The show runs from July 3rd to Oct. 12th with many events planned. So far, Curator Delphine Hirasuna talks on Thurs., July 3rd at 7pm. California-based installation artist and sculptor Wendy Maruyama gives a talk about Executive Order 9066 and her work on the subject on September 5th at 7pm. 510 Bellevue Way NE. Go to www.bellevuearts.org.
Internationally known installation artist Mel Chin has been struggling with issues such as how can art provoke greater social awareness and responsibility in the community for over 25 years. Now the New Orleans Museum of Art presents a traveling retrospective of his work in a show entitled “Re Match” which just opened. Catalog is available published by German art publisher, Hatje Cantz.
“Bloom” is the title of a new exhibit by HiiH Lights (Lam Quay & Kestral Gates). It will feature new floral lighted sculpture by this Portland couple accented by paintings from gallery artists. Through April 26th. ArtXchange Gallery at 512 First Ave. S. Open Tues. – Sat. (206) 839-0377 or go to www.artxchange.org.
The Portland Japanese Garden has announced their exhibitions set for 2014. “Ray Morimura: Prints for All Seasons” on view through May 4th, “Rediscovering Lacquer: 11 Artists Reinvent a Timeless Tradition” on view June 14th – July 6th and “Urushi: Materpieces of Lacquer Ware by Kazumi Murose, Living National Treasure of Japan”, on view Oct. 25th – Nov. 16th. For details, go to http://japanesegarden.com/pressroom/50th-anniversary-press-kit/.
KOBO Gallery at Higo in Japantown/International District has the following – Clothing designer Mieko Mintz comes from New York to showcase her 2014 Spring Collection which combines unique textiles with her own designs. She likes to use “Kantha” or layers of discarded Indian saris in her designs. Her trunk show comes April 17th from 12 – 5pm and April 28th from 1 – 6pm. Also currently on view are these two shows featuring work made of wood. “Wooden Heirloom Automata” by Bliss Kolb featuring mechanical creatures like birds that move and sing. And sculptor Joel Sayre’s “Wood Tumblers” that resemble those round, smooth stones you pick up off the beach. Go to koboseattle.com for updates. 604 S. Jackson St. 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250.
Sculptor Akiko Jackson shows her large pieces along with Jessica Hoffman’s installation work that invites audience participation at Ghost Gallery through May 5th. 504 E. Denny Way. (206) 832-6063 or go to ghostgallery.com.
“Clay? V” is a group show of work in clay juried by UW ceramic professors Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker and Akio Takamori. Now on view through May 17th. Kirkland Arts Center at 620 Market St. in Kirkland. Tues. – Fri. (425) 822-7161 or go to kirklandartscenter.org.
Aallyah Gupta presents a show of her non-representational acrylics on Dura-lar, focusing on weather patterns and organic movement. On view with John Smither’s work from April 30th – May 31st. Opening reception for the artists takes place May 1st from 6 – 8pm. CORE at 117 Prefontaine Place S. Open from Wed. – Sat. (206) 467-4444 or go to coregallery.org.
Woodside/Braseth Gallery presents their “53rd Annual Group Exhibition” with participating artists like George Tsutakawa, Johsel Namkung and others. On view now through May 2nd. 2101 Ninth Ave. #102. Open Tues. – Sat. (206) 622-7243 or go to woodsiderasethgallery.com.
In 1995, friends of the late Northwest artist Frank Okada donated several of his large paintings to the Asian Resource Center. They have now been transferred to the Wing Luke Museum. It is hoped that the museum can raise funds to have a conservator restore all the paintings to their original condition. Then, perhaps the museum can have a Frank Okada exhibition. Okada was the brother of noted Japanese American writer John Okada, author of “No No Boy” and was a respected Northwest painter who taught at the University of Oregon for many years.
“Capturing a Generation through the Eye of a Lens: The Photographs of Frank C. Hirahara, 1948 – 1954” is a collection of never-before-seen photos taken of Portland’s Nisei generation. It captures the social events and life in Portland’s Japantown of a now fast disappearing generation. On view through June 15th. Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland. 121 NW Second Ave. (503) 224-1458 or visit www.oregonnikkei.org. (541) 346-3027 or go to jsma.uoregon.edu.
Two exhibits by Amir Zaki and Jason Hirata share the space at James Harris Gallery April 17th to May 17th. Zaki’s “Impermanence” features a body of work depicting two series of images in the media of monochromatic photography. One is a series of trees truncated without roots and isolated in a stark background devoid of detail. The second series zeros in on scenic beachside cliffs of Southern California shrouded in banks of fog passing by. Seattle artist Hirata continues his exploration of materials and how the viewer perceives them. “New Work” is a series of eight paintings. A gessoed rectangle on raw canvas holding the markings of simple gestures of color coated with diamond dust with the edges color blocked to subtly reflect color hues onto the wall. Each painting is a study of a minimalist 3d sculptural form. 604 – 2nd Ave. (206) 903-6220.
“Meet Me at Higo” permanent exhibit- Part Two” presented and sponsored by the Wing is a multi-media presentation and self-guided tour that tells the origins and history of the store as a Japanese American five and dime. At Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.
One of Japan’s finest traditional/contemporary bamboo artists, Jiro Yonezawa has a show through April 26th at Butters Gallery in Portland. 520 NW Davis St. (503) 248-9378 or go to www.buttersgallery.com.
“Constructions” is a show of new sculptural and installation work by Filipino American glass artist Jeffrey Sarmiento on view through May 3rd at Bullseye Gallery in Portland. 300 NW 13th Ave. (503) 227-0222 or go to www.bullseyegallery.com.
“Road Trip” is the title of a show of oil paintings by Seattle oil painter Z.Z. Wei famous for his iconic images of cars set in the landscapes of the Northwest. On view through April 28th at Attic Gallery Downtown at 206 SW First Ave. in Portland. (503) 228-7830 or visit www.atticgallery.com.
Seattle artist Elizabeth Jameson who recently had a show at G. Gibson Gallery is given an “artist profile” in the March/April 2014 issue of L.A. based art magazine, Art Ltd. A tribute to the contributions of the late Bay Area artist Ruth Asawa is also in this issue. Go to www.artltdmagazine.com for details.
Seattle-raised artist Roger Shimomura has a show of new work entitled “Great American Muse” from May 8th – June 28th at the Flomenhaft Gallery in Chelsea area of New York City. Opening reception is May 8th from 6 – 8pm. The artist states the following – “Central to my work is the manipulation of common objects into something other than what they seem. Recently, I became reacquainted with Great American Nude, a series of paintings by Tom Wesselmann. The interplay between the female figure, still life objects, and a familiar piece of contemporary art fascinated me as it set up multiple interpretations. By starting with Wesselmann’s premise of juxtaposing three separate motifs and adding race and culture to the mix, the level of interpretation rose exponentially, each component adding its own history and viewpoint, resulting in endless potential for dialogue and debate.”
“Jesse Nishihata – Visual Storyteller” showcases the work of this pioneer Japanese Canadian filmmaker in a retrospective exhibit of his eclectic and extensive body of work. The artist humanized stories ignored by mainstream media and revealed the unrevealed. On view now through May 4, 2014. Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre at 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC, Canada. For details, go to www.nikkeiplace.org.
If viewing the work of Chinese brush painter Qi Baishi at the Frye has got you interested in his work, there is another show in the Bay Area that may interest you as well. “The Carved Brush – Calligraphy, Painting and Seal Carving by Qi Baishi” now on view through July 13th, 2014. At the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco at 200 Larkin St. (415) 581-3500.
The Late Walasse Ting (1929-2010) was a beloved artist/poet who grew up in Shanghai. When he was 20 years old, he left China and lived in Paris for a few years and became acquainted with European artists associated with the avant-garde art group called COBRA. He moved again to New York in 1958 at the height of the Abstract Expressionist period. His dripping monochromatic abstractions in the manner of Paris-based Chinese painter, Zao Wouki soon changed in America. His calligraphic strokes were used to make figurative outlines infused with juicy colors and flamboyant rhythms. He worked in theatre, taught and lectured on art. He also authored a number of books of poetry. “A book like hundred flower garden”: Walasse Ting’s 1 Cent Life” was a book of poems he made illustrated with lithographs by second-generation Abstract Expressionist artists such as Sam Francis (also the book’s editor), Joan Mitchell, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and COBRA artists such as Karl Appel and Asger Jorn. A exhibit based on the book is now on view at San Francisco’s De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park through Sept. 7th, 2014. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in the park. For details, call (415) 750-3600 or email [email protected].
The Oakland Museum in the Bay Area has new shows in April worth noting. “SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot” shows the work of 15 artists associated with the groundbreaking magazine Giant Robot. Ahead of its time, this publication led the crest of the wave in interest in anime, manga, Asian American pop and alternative culture. “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records”. This show delves into the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting and sharing records or vinyl. Both shows open April 19th and continue on until July 27th, 2014. 1000 Oak St. For information, call toll free (888) 625-6873.
“Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910)” is an exhibition currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Through May 26th. More than 150 works are on exhibit including screen paintings and calligraphy. The Joseon Kingdom was one of the longest surviving monarchies in the world and shaped the culture of modern Korea in numerous ways. After Philadelphia, the exhibition then travels to Los Angeles County Museum of Art from June 29th – Sept. 28th and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from Nov. 2nd – Jan. 11, 2015.
The University of Chicago presents “Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture” on-going through June 15th. Highlights include the Chicago premiere of Chinese opera star Ling Ke and the Tianjin Peking Opera Company on April 12th The Smart Museum of Art has a show entitled “Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture” which has on view rarely seen works from late imperial China. For details, go to envisioningchina.uchicago.edu and like the festival on Facebook at facebook.com/envisioningchina.
“Light From Shadow Illustrates Use of Gold in Japanese Art” is a show that features some of the most important Japanese works of art in the museum collection. Through June 1, 2014. Honolulu Museum of Art at www.honolulumuseum.org/.
The Asia Society in New York has the following shows opening. “Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery” is on view through May 18th. This exhibition is the first ever to explore the history, iconography, and artistic production associated with the central Tibetan Buddhist monastery known as Densatil that was destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution. After its’ destruction, fragments of the reliefs and sculptures were dispersed around the world. This exhibition brings together a selection of works that explore the spiritual journey that was laid out in the imagery of the stupas. Nalini Malani is a contemporary South Asian artist currently dividing her time between Mumbai and Amsterdam. Her work uses allegory and symbolism to explore issues relating to gender, class and race in a post-colonial world. “Transgressions” is a video/shadow play drawn from the Asia Society Museum Collection as well as a selection of Malani’s artist books. On view through August 3rd. “Tales of Wonder: Indian Art from the Asia society Museum Collection” is on view now through May 4th. 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to www.asiasociety.org/new-york.
“Ink Art: Past As Present in Contemporary China” is a survey of how contemporary artists in China use the media of ink today and how it also reflects the long tradition. On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through April 6th with a catalog available. Also opening April 14th is a new exhibit entitled “Lost Kingdoms – Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century”. 1000 Fifth Ave. Go to www.metmuseum.org for more information.
“From Barbed Wire to Battlefields – Japanese-American Experiences in World War II” is a new exhibit at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on loan from the Smithsonian. It remains on view through October of this year. For more, visit www.barbedwiretobattlefields.org/home.
An art installation made up of 20 tons of soil from Tibet has touched an emotional chord among Tibetan exiles. Contemporary artist Tenzing Rigdol spread the dirt on a stage on a basketball court in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, home to many Tibetan exiles. This very real symbol of a homeland had evoked nostalgia for a home many hope to return to one day. Rigdo, who has a degree in art from the University of Colorado, got the idea for the project when his dying father expressed a wish to go back to Tibet. Rigdol will reveal how he got the soil out of Tibet in a documentary film he plans to complete in a few months.
“The Flower That Doesn’t Wilt” is an exhibition of work by Korean comic book artists what tells the story of Korean’s “comfort women”. It features 14 works by some of the country’s top comic book illustrators that conveys the painful experience of Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves by the Japanese imperial army during world war II. This show debuted at France’s Angouleme International Comics Festival, the world’s largest comic exhibition. The exhibit drew a favorable response despite Japanese attempts to shut it down. It now shows again through march at Seodaemun Prison History Museum in Seoul. One hopes that it will soon be made into a book and receive wider distribution.
Joshua Chuang has joined the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photogrpahy, Tucson as chief curator. Previously, he served as curator of photography and digital media at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven.
Noted Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is known for his innovative approach at building useful temporary shelter for victims of natural disasters and wars.
ArtAsiaPacific is an art magazine that looks at contemporary art being done in Asia. The March/April Issue has an interview with art historian and former president and chief executive of Asia Society, Vishakha Desai. A digital edition is available for purchase on iTunes, Zinio and Magzter.
A former nuclear plant worker at Fukushima has written a comic-book novel about his experience. “IF: The Labor Diary of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant” is by Kazkuto Tatsuta. Early episodes will come out as a book in April and one suspects it will only be a matter of time before it comes out in an English translation.
SIS Productions is launching a campaign to ‘celebrate women’ to inspire people of all genders, ages and races to re-imagine how women are valued in our culture. Towards this goal, SIS is producing the full West Coast premiere of Impenetrable” by Mia McCullough (see related article in this issue) with all Asian American women in the lead roles. Inspired by a billboard ad of bikini-clad women superimposed with arrows pointing to “problem areas” that a local spa could fix, the play explores society’s obsession with ideal beauty. Through May 3rd. West of Lenin located at 203 – N. 36th in Fremont. Call (206) 323-9443 or email [email protected] for reservations and information. You can also buy tickets through Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/589187.
Have you ever wondered what early Chinese American pioneers ate when they first came to “Gold Mountain” as they called America. Have your culinary questions answered when you attend “Pig Cheeks, Pomelo Peels, and Olives: Chinese American Pioneer Dinner” with chef and culinary historian Maxine Chan. This special multi-course dinner pays homage to the resourceful yet delectable cuisine of Chinese Americans in the late 1800’s. Chan will discuss the significance of each dish served. Please note that this menu cannot accommodate special dietary needs. Sat., April 26th at 6pm. $45 general admission an $35 for museum members. Registration required. Call (206) 623-5124. Dinner will be held at Four Seas Restaurant across the street from the museum. 714 South King St.
The classical power trio of David Finckel, Wu Han and Phil Setzer take on a program of Dvorak, Beethoven and Schubert on May 21st. UW World Series at Meany Hall on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org.
The University of Washington Japanese Students Association present their annual event entitled “Matsuri” with food and entertainment from Japanese culture. On the Seattle UW campus at the HUB 2nd floor Ballroom on Sat., April 19th from 5pm – 9pm. For details, go to https://www.facebook.com/uwmatsuri.
Paul Kikuchi appears in a duo setting with Thollem McDonas on June 7th at 8pm at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood at 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. . For details on the concert, go to waywardmusic.blogspot.com/.
Japanese storyteller Hiroko Fujita comes to Seattle April 16th – 19th for several events. As a child, she lived in Fukushima, a mountainous region of Northern Japan and absorbed first-hand folk stories handed down from her parents and grandparents. She knows over 300 stories. The vivid gestures and enchanting sounds of her performance convey what she has to say so no prior knowledge of Japanese is needed to enjoy her performances. For more information, go to www.sugoiexperiencejapan.com.
Heri Purwanto is the UW Ethnomusicology Department’s “Visiting Artist” this spring and Seattle audiences (and UW students) will reap the musical benefits. Javanese master Purwanto will perform with local institution Gamelan Pacifica, and the local vocal ensemble Canzonetta led by vocalist/performer Jessika Kenny. April 19th at 8pm at Cornish College’s Poncho Concert Hall at 8pm. 710 E. Roy St. on Capitol Hill. (206) 726-5112 or go to [email protected]. And on May 20th, the new gamelan makes its Meany stage debut in a concert entitled “Ethnomusicology Visiting Artist Concert: Gamelan Music, Dance and Shadow Puppet Theater of Java.” With Heri Puwanto and his students, shadow puppet master Ki Midiyanto, vocalist Jessika Kenny, dancer Christina Sunardi and Gamelan Pacifica in an evening of Javanese music, dance and theatre. 7:30pm at Meany Theater on the Seattle UW campus. For information and tickets, go to www.music.washington.edu or call UW Arts Ticket Office at (2060 543-4880.
UPAYA presents Grammy-nominated bamboo flautist Shashank Subraman in concert in an evening of Carnatic Indian classical music at Seattle Art Museum on April 25th at 7:30pm. Doors open at 7pm. 1300 1st Ave. downtown. For tickets, go to http://shashank-seattle.eventbrite.com. For more information, go to www.upayasv.org.
Seattle favorite, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro from Hawai’i plucks the strings in concert on April 26th at The Paramount. 9th Ave. & Pine St. downtown. (877) 784-4849 or go to stgpresents.org.
Critically-acclaimed Canadian classic professor and poet Anne Carson collaborates with local composers Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenny for a reading and musical performance inspired by classical Greek statuary. This local musical couple between them have racked up both a Stranger Genius Award and a James W. Ray Fellowship. May 13th at Town Hall Seattle. Go to www.townhallseattle.org for details.
Seattle composer/performance artist Byron Au Yong is composing music for a new adaptation of “The Orphan of Zhao” by James Fenton and featuring B.D. Wong. It plays ACT Theatre in San Francisco June 4th – 29th and La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego July 8th – August 3rd. Au Yong also contributes compositions to the Erik Satie Tango Project performed by the Free MARZ String Trio in the “March Music Moderne” series at Portland Community Music Center on March 16th at 7:30pm. His music can also be heard at the UH Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center in a “Piano Concerto – Houston” April 9 – 13th at Counter Current in Houston, TX.
Noted actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame will lead this year’s Seattle Pride Parade as Celebrity Grand Marshal.
“In The Book Of” by John Walch (see related story in this issue) and Directed by Scott Nolte is a new Taproot Theatre Company Production of a play about two women who have lost everything and the unlikely friendship that saves them both. Army veteran Naomi Watkins returns to Mississippi and opens her home to her Afghan translator, Anisah. When her visa is called into question, the whole town goes to war over the suspicious stranger. Through April 26th. Tickets online at taproottheatre.org or call (206) 781-9797. 204 N. 85th St. in Seattle’s Greenwood district.
Sakura-Con is the annual Northwest Anime Convention. April 18th – 20th at Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Go to www.sakuracon.org for details.
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with Myung-Whun Chung conducting and Sunwook Kim on piano take on Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 and Brahms Symphony No. 4 on April 21st at 7:30pm. Noted American cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs with Seattle Symphony on May 3rd at 2pm. At Benaroya Hall downtown at 3rd & Union. (206) 215-4747 or go to seattlesymphony.org.
The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival “Passages in Time” welcomes in spring April 25th – 27th at Seattle Center. Taiko drummers and other live performances as well as visual arts, hand-on activities, food and games are all part of the events. There will be an Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration on May 4th throughout the day. “A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture and Arts Festival” is on May 17th. The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is free and always features a variety of folk and ethnic music from around the world. May 23 – 26th. All at Seattle Center. For details on all these events, go to seattlecenter.com.
The 19th Annual Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church presents their annual Asian Craft, Food Fair & Silent Auction. Sat., May 3 from 10am – 4pm. 3001-24th Ave. South in Seattle.
“Dhrupad Days” is the annual Indian music festival featuring workshops by noted Dhrupad artists Padmashri Pandit, the Gundecha Brothers and a cello concert by Nancy Lesh Kulkarni. May 24th – 30th. Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. For details, go to http://dhrupad.com/dhrupad-days/dhrupad-days-2014/.
The Wing hosts the following performances. On Sat., May 31st at 3pm, catch award-winning musician, distinguished artist, and teacher, Debi Prasad Chatterjee as he performs classical North Indian music. The concert is followed by a Q & A. $8 General, free for members. On Sat., June 7th at 3pm, choreographer Gabrielle Nomura weaves dance, theater, and live music by Seattle Kokon Taiko into an exploration of the Japanese American experience during WWII in a piece entitled “Farewell Shikata ga nai”. $5 General, free to members. The above two concerts, reserve tickets at (206) 623-5124. As we head into June, we are talking about Summer and that means JAMFEST, the annual series of musical concerts in the buildings and streets of Seattle’s Chinatown/ID neighborhood. On Thurs., June 19th at 5:30pm the Wing hosts a cabaret. After that, hit the streets to sample performances, food, deals and more. $8 General, $6 Students/Seniors and $5 members. Season passes available. Visit wingluke.org/jamfest for details.
The Seattle Japanese Garden presents “Children’s Day” on May 26th from noon – 4pm. Expect fun performances and activities for all ages. Go to Seattle.JapaneseGarden.org for details.
The Blue Scholars are headlining the Inaugural Solstice Concert Series for the Fremont Fair this year on Sat., June 21st starting at 5pm. $20 admission for all ages. For details, go to Fremontfair.com.
ACT Theatre has announced their 2014 season. Appearing Sept. 5 – 28th is “The Invisible Hand” by Ayad Akhtar. The story revolves around an American financial guru who is captured and held by a militant organization in Pakistan who must raise his won 10 million dollar ransom. To be directed by Allen Nause. For details on this play and the upcoming season, go to acttheatre.org/subscriptions or call (206) 292-7676.
UW Japan Studies Program presents Columbia University Professor Carol Gluck speaking on the topic of “Modernity in Common: Japan and World History” on April 21st at 7pm in UW Kane Hall 220 on the Seattle campus. Free but registration is appreciated. Go to jais.washington.edu/japan/events.shtml.
For those of you who missed the performances of Jeanne Sakata’s “Hold These Truths”, her one person play on the night Gordon Hirabayashi was arrested for defying the curfew for Japanese Americans in Seattle at the beginning of WWII have another opportunity. ACT Theatre will produce this play again July 31st – August 3rd of this year with possibly Joel de la Fuente in the lead. They are currently entertaining the idea of adapting “The Tale of Heike” and bringing it to the stage in the fall of 2016. Noted playwright Philip Kan Gotanda may be working on the script with local Seattle writers.
New York- based composer, saxophonist, writer and radical activist Fred Ho died recently after a long struggle with cancer. He will be remembered for many activities including the founding of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and his association with other Asian American musicians working within the realm of a new Asian American jazz movement. His initial recording output included “Tomorrow is Now!” and “We Refuse to Be Used and Abused” both on the Soul Note label from Italy. He also worked on ballet operas that reinvented the genre which he called “living comic books.” He covered themes as diverse as Chinese folklore, domestic abuse, the black power movement and revolutionary feminism. Ho came through the Northwest a couple of times with a saxophone quartet and once as a solo act, lecturing on the roots of Asian American music with vivid musical examples. He was a cultural warrior who used art as his weapon against the capitalist system.
It was with sadness that I learned belatedly about the passing (back in November of 2013) of art curator Karin Higa. A New York friend had emailed me a few weeks back about a memorial to her in New York attended by friends and art activists from “Godzilla” (a New York-based Asian American Arts Collective in the 90’s) days. Higa was practically on the ground floor in the shaping and realization of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and helped construct an Asian American art aesthetic in her curating of important historical shows such as “The View From Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945”, a look at the work of video artists Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, “Living in Color: The Art of Hideo Date”, a Masumi Hayashi retrospective, “George Nakashima: Nature, Form & Spirit” and “Living Flowers: Ikebana and Contemporary Art”. She also co-curated an important traveling show entitled “One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now” that opened at Asia Society in New York. She was working on “Made in L.A. 2014” at the time of her death. Higa was a strong presence and pioneer in the burgeoning field of Asian American art history and her presence will be strongly missed. We’ll have a tribute story to her efforts in May. Stay tuned.
Film & Media
“Short Peace” (see review in this issue), a Japanese animation series of shorts screens April 24th, 25th and 27th at the Gran Illusion Cinema in the “U” District. Short films include “Gambo” by Hiraoki Ando, “A Farewell to Arms” by Hajime Katoki, “Possessions” by Shuhei Morita and “Combustible” by Katsuhiro Otomo. Showtimes are 8:30pm on April 24th, 6pm on April 25th and 2:30pm on April 27th. Call (206) 523-3935 or go to www.grandillusioncinema.org.
Takashi Murakami, the most popular Japanese artist who burst on the scene with his work inspired by an anime visual aesthetic takes his vision into film with his first live-action feature film entitled “Jellyfish Eyes” set to screen May 2nd at 7pm, May 3rd at 2pm and May 4 at noon. This coming-of-age tale takes place in a post-Fukushima world that brings to mind the Japanese monster films of the 1950’s (SIFF will screen a new cut of the classic “Godzilla” at this year’s film festival) while imbued with the promise of generational hope. $5 for members and $10 general admission. Henry Art Gallery on the UW campus in Seattle. (206) 543-2280 or go to [email protected].
“All Out Monsters Attack” is a series of Japanese vintage monster flicks created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original 1954 Godzilla film. “Godzilla: The Japanese Original” screens May 2 – 8th. “Godzilla vs. Destroyah” screens May 2nd. “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah” screens May 3rd. “King Kong” on May 4th. “It Came From Beneath The Sea” on May 5th. “Gorgo” on May 6th. “Infra-Man” on May 7th. All at SIFF Cinema Uptown at 511 Queen Anne Ave. N. in Seattle. For details, go to www.siff.net.
Seattle Asian Art Museum continues their “Free First Saturdays – Kids Flicks” series with the following. Events take place on every first Saturday of the month from 11am – 2pm. “Nature Tales” is the theme for May 3rd. Kids will create mixed-media sculptures inspired by the natural motifs in “A Fuller View of China, Japan and Korea.” Then watch Hayao Miyazaki’s film, “Ponyo”. For these and other SAM kids activities at both museums and a summer kids art camp, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Opening March 28th at the Harvard Exit is “The Lunchbox”, a film by Ritesh Batra about a young housewife whose box lunch is accidentally delivered to a stranger instead of her husband. How the two develop a relationship and become friends is the story. Stars Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. 807 E. Roy St. (206) 323-0587.
“Ilo Ilo” is a drama set in Singapore during the Asian 1997 financial crisis. Written & directed by Anthony Chen, the film reveals the hidden cost of prosperity of a family and their naughty boy. Both parents work and decide to hire a Filipino live-in maid and nanny. The maid struggles to gain her footing and gain the trust of the boy but then the economy crumbles. Won Golden Horse Awards and the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Opens for a week on April 11 at a Landmark Theatre in Seattle. For more about the film, go to www.iloilomovie.com.
“Cambodian Son” (see related story in this issue) is a documentary film by Masahiro Sugano which looks at the plight of Cambodian American youth convicted of crimes and deported back to Cambodia, a country they have never known. Examines issues such as involuntary migration, deportation, juvenile justice and the redemption of art. Follows the journey of an exiled American spoken word poet from the streets of Phnom Penh to the stages of London during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. UW Seattle screens the film twice. The Tuesday, April 22 screening at UW Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center in the “U” District is already sold out. Luckily, there is one more screening the day before on Monday, April 21st at 8pm at UW Law School in Gates Hall – Room 138 on the Seattle UW campus.For a film clip, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45rDseYkEfs.feature=youtu.be.
“Watermark” marks the return of award-winning documentary filmmaker Jennfer Baichwal and renowned environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky who teamed up to make the acclaimed documentary, “Manufactured Landscapes.” This time they tackle the subject of water and our troubled relationship with life’s most precious resource. Scenes include visits to construction sites in China, the ancient “step wells” of Rajasthan and the water-intensive tanneries of Dhaka, Bangla Desh amongst other places across the world. Opens for a week on May 2nd at a Landmark Theatre in Seattle. Go to www.burtynsky-water.com/watermark for more on the film.
The Wing and Tasveer partner together to bring you the 2nd South Asian International Documentary (SAID) Film Festival, the only one of its kind in the country. Set for the weekend of June 28th and 29th. For festival information and tickets visit: www.tasveer.org. Films will screen on-site at The Wing and tickets must be purchased.
The Japanese Cultural & Community Center presents a Japanese film series entitled “Matinee Eiga” every Sunday at 2pm. $5 for non-members and $3 for JCCCW members. 1414 S. Weller St. (206) 568-7114 or go to www.jcccw.org. Call (425) 369-1012 for details.
Films from Asia took top prizes at the annual Berlin International Film Festival. The Chinese film “Black Coal, Thin Ice” as directed by Diao Yinan won for the Berlin International Film Festival’s main Golden Bear prize. The film is a crime thriller that takes place in northern China. Liao Fan who played the lead role as a former cop turned detective investigating a series of killings in that urban area took home a best-actor award. Best actress award went to Japan’s Haru Kuroki who starred in veteran director Yoji Yamada’s film, “The Little House” about a secret love affair set again the backdrop of WWII. Chinese director Lou Ye’s film entitled “Blind Massage” received the festival’s outstanding artistic contribution prize for its cinematography by Zeng Jian.
Pioneer Chinese restaurant owner Cecilia Chiang is credited with introducing authentic Chinese food to Americans via her famed Bay Area Mandarin restaurant in the early 1960’s. Now, veteran filmmaker Wayne Wang (“The Joy Luck Club”) is doing a documentary film on this woman entitled “Soul of a Banquet” centered around her activities while she was preparing a banquet to honor the 40th anniversary of Alice Water’s Chez Panisse. The film is distributed by Oscilloscope and will hit theatres later in the year.
The Written Arts
Award-winning novelist Julie Otsuka (“When the Emperor Was Divine”) gives a talk at Green River Community College on Thursday, April 24th at 7:30pm with a Q & A to follow. $10 admission. 12401 S.E. 320th St. in Auburn.
“Stories of Arrival: Youth Voices” is a community partnership project between Foster High School, Jack Straw Cultural Center, KBCS 91.3 FM Radio and the Institute for Poetic Medicine. Poet/Project Director Merna Ann Hecht worked with ELL teachers Camil Stradley and Kristin Tregillus and the Jack Straw’s team of artists. They helped Foster High School English Language Learners tell their stories through poetry and these were recorded in the studio at Jack Straw. Now hear the results every weekday evening in April at 6:55pm after Hard Knock Radio on KBCS 91.3 FM Radio. Starts April 1st in celebration of National Poetry Month. Students from Bhutan, Burma, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Somalia, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam all participated. Go to http://kbcs.fm/ for details.
The Gardner Center for Asian Art & Ideas presents a co-presentation with the Jackson School of International Studies at UW. Ramachandra Guha reading from “Gandhi Before India” (Knopf) on April 23rd at 7pm. This event is free. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s auditorium. Go to tickets.seattleartmuseum.org/public or call (206) 654-3210.
The Elliott Bay Book Company host and co-hosts literary events at their bookstore and venues around town. Here is a sampling. All readings at the book store unless otherwise noted. Jamie Ford, award-winning author of “The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” (Ballantine) joins fellow author Maria Semple to kickoff World Book Night on Tuesday, April 22nd at 7pm. This event is an ambitious campaign to give a half million free, specially-printed paperbacks to light or non-readers across America on one day. World Book Night takes place on April 23rd, Shakespeare’s birthday. For more information, go to http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/. Annie Chuang reads from “The Four Words for Home: A Memoir of Two Families” (Willow Books) which looks at the lives of two different immigrant families in the post-9/11 era in the U.S. Friday, April 25th at 7pm. She looks at a family here from Afghanistan and her own family life here after coming from Taiwan. Annette Lu (Lu Hsiu-Lien) reads from “My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power” (UW Press) on Monday, April 28th at 7:30pm at Town Hall Seattle. This reading co-presented with World Affairs Council & Town Hall Civics Series. $5 tickets available at the door starting at 6:30pm or in advance via www.townhallseattle.org (1-888-377-4510). Town Hall is at 1119 Eighth Avenue (at Seneca). The bookstore is at 1521 Tenth Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. (206) 624-6600 or visit www.elliottbaybook.com.
“Yoni Ki Baat” is a South Asian adaptation of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”. This ever-popular performance piece features poignant and vivid monologues by strong South Asian women. Presented by Tasveer as part of the Aaina Festival. April 25th, 26th & 27th at 7pm in the Asian Art Museum. Visitsam.org/tickets or call (206) 654-3210 or visit the ticket office at any of the museum’s three sites.
The Wing hosts three readings in their Tateuchi Story Theatre. Pakistani native and Kirkland author Maliha Masood reads from her book entitled “Dizzy in Karachi: A Journey to Pakistan” on Sat., May 17th at 4pm. Masood came from Pakistan with her family when she was 10. A return visit in the wake of 9/11 reminded her of the roots she left behind and triggered this book. There will be a discussion with the author after her reading. Free. On Sat., June 21st at 4pm, spoken-word poet and community activist Michelle Myers performs poetry with song from her new poetry book entitled “The She Book.” Proceeds from book sales will be donated to aid anti-trafficking efforts and community building in Nicaragua. Seattle-raised poet/editor/professor Brain Komei Dempster will read from his debut poetry collection, “Topaz”. The book examines the experiences and lasting intergenerational impact of a Japanese American family’s separation and incarceration in American WWII prison camps. This takes place on Thurs., June 5th at 4pm. Free. For more information, on these and more, go to wingluke.org.
Celebrate some of Seattle’s Asian American writers by checking out the Jack Straw May Reading Series hosted by this year’s curator, Felicia Gonzalez. Jane Wong reads her poetry with other writers on May 2nd at 7pm. Loreen Lilyun Lee reads on May 9th at 7pm with others. Michelle Penaloza reads on May 16th at 7pm with others. Jack Straw Studios is at 4261 Roosevelt Way N.E. in the “U” District. (206) 634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org/.
Kim-An Lieberman (1974-2013) was a highly accomplished poet who died all too soon after a long battle with cancer. Fortunately for us, she left behind a second book of poems entitled “In Orbit” now published posthumously by local publisher, Blue Begonia Press. In it she re-imagines the anti-Chinese riots in Seattle, the lives of her Vietnamese American family and concludes with powerful poems detailing her own experience with cancer. To purchase “In Orbit” or her first book entitled “Breaking The Map”, email the publisher at [email protected]. Also available at Open Books in Seattle. There will be a group reading of her new book by family and friends at Jack Straw Productions in the “U” District onSunday, May 4th. 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. Contact (206) 634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org/ Her poems will also be read at a group reading led by poet Brian Komei Dempster in early June at the University Book Store’s Seattle branch in the University District.
“Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream” (Action Books) is a new book of poetry by South Korean poet Kim Hyesoon beautifully translated by Seattle poet/translator Don Mee Choi. Choi’s translation brings out the vivid and powerful imagery of this contemporary poet. As Pam Brown notes, “Her poems are not ironic. They are direct, deliberately grotesque, theatrical, unsettling, excessive, visceral and somatic. This is feminist surrealism loaded with shifting, playful linguistics that both defile and defy traditional roles for women.’ Available locally at Open Books.
“Omoide” is a series of beginners’ writing workshops with special guest speakers presented by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington now in its’ third year. The workshops encourage writing of our family histories and experiences. Friday, April 18th’s edition from 11:30am – 1:30pm features author and graphic artist Satoru Ichikawa with his book entitled “The Minidoka Story” which tells the story of his family’s experiences during WWII in an internment camp. Retired UW teacher and writer, Janine Brodine will lead participants in writing exercises around each topic. This one centers around the theme of “I remember when….”. JCCCW Building #1 at 1414 South Weller St. For details, email [email protected].
Congratulations to Seattle-raised poet Paisley Rekdal who was awarded a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry. She receives $50,000 and goes to New York on May 7th for a reception for awardees both past and present. Rekdal is currently Professor of English at the University of Utah. She is the author of a book of essays entitled “The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee”, a hybrid genre memoir entitled “Intimate” and four books of poetry entitled “A Crash of Rhinos”, “Six Girls Without Pants”, “The Invention of the Kaleidoscope” and most recently, “Animal Eye”.
“The Last Incantations” (Northwestern University Press ) is a new book of poems by David Mura that looks at the intersection of our multiracial society and his experiences as a third-generation Japanese American trying to prove his “Americaness”. For details, go to http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/.
Tinfish Press is known for publishing some of the most exciting and experimental writing by writers of the Asian Pacific region. Their upcoming latest title will be “Proposed Additions” by Donovan Kuhio Colleps. Got to www.tinfishpress.com for details.
“Boy in the Twilight – Stories of the Hidden China” (Pantheon) is a new collection of short stories by Yu Hua that zero in on the everyday lives of ordinary citizens caught in the shifting change in that country from agrarian to urban.
Congratulations to Examiner contributing writer Maria Batayola who just successfully completed the 2014 EDGE Professional Development Program for Literary Artists offered by Artist Trust. She participated in a group reading on Sat., April 12th at 1pm with other graduates at Elliott Bay Book Company. The EDGE Program provides artists with a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field, as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions and assignments. If you want to know when EDGE Programs are held in your category, you can go to www.artisttrust.org/ or call (206)467-8734 or toll free at 1-866-21trust.
Carol Gluck, a history professor at Columbia University will give a talk entitled “Modernity in Common: Japan and World History” on Monday, April 21st at 7pm. Part of the Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series at UW Seattle campus’s Kane Hall 220. Free. Call (206) 685-9997 or email [email protected] for details.
Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at UC Irvine, Claire Jean Kim talks about “Race, Species and Nature in a Multiciultural Age” as part of the UW Public Lecture Series. May 1st at 6:30pm. UW Kane Hall on the UW Seattle campus. Register online to attend by going to www.grad.washington.edu/lectures.
Alex Tizon was a respected staff writer for the Seattle Times and a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Now he teaches at the University of Oregon. He has a new book due out in June entitled “Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). His book looks at the experience, psyche, and mythology of the Asian American male.
Two Northwest Asian American classic memoirs are being reprinted in commemorative editions with new introductions by the University of Washington Press. “Nisei Daughter” by Monica Sone tells the story of growing up in Chinatown/ID as the daughter of Japanese immigrant hotel owners. Northwest historian Marie Rose Wong does the introduction. “American is in the Heart” by Carlos Bulosan is the legendary memoir of this treasured Filipino American writer and his bitter-sweet, life-long involvement with the American dream. Asian American scholars Marilyn C. Alquizola and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi do the new introduction for this one. Other titles in this series due for new editions include titles by John Okada and Mine Okubo. For details, go to http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/.
“Mechademia 8 – Tezuka’s Manga Life” (University of Minnesota Press) as edited by Frenchy Lunning is an anthology of essays on the pioneer Japanese manga artist/writer known as the “Walt Disney of Japan.” Go to http://upress/book-division/series/mechademia for details.
“Café Le Whore” (Weavers Press San Francisco) is a book of short stories by Pakistani-American writer Moazzam Sheikh. This Bay Area writer is known for his wry wit and humor. He currently is a librarian at San Francisco Public Library and teaches at City College of San Francisco. This book is available at East Wind Books in Berkeley. Go to [email protected]
Bay Area poet and playwright Aimee Suzara’s debut collection entitled “Souvenir” feature poems that are narratives of her history from the “living exhibits” of Filipino tribesmen in the 1904 World’s Fair to the migration of her family across seas and continents to the wild west. Go to [email protected] to order.
Ginny Lim, noted jazz poet and one of the leading lights of the Bay Area Asian American literary scene of the 1970’s is back in print with “Paper Gods and Rebels”, a rich collection of poetry that spans her whole career of 25 years with an emphasis on the themes of displacement loss, war and exile. She worked on the groundbreaking anthology, “Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island” with H. Mark Lai and Judy Yung and also wrote several theatre pieces including “Paper Angels”, “Bitter Cane” and “Where is Tibet?”. It’s good to have her back. She recently performed at a festival of poets and jazz curated by noted writer Ishmael Reed (www.ishmaelreed.org) who also published this new book by Lim. Go to [email protected] to order.
“This One Summer” (First Second Books) written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki is out just in time for summer. The collaborated on the previous well-reviewed book, “Skim.” This new book looks at the lives of two teenage girls in a summer beach town and how some of those experiences will change their lives forever.
“Singapore Noir” as edited by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is from the popular “noir” series on Akashi Books that looks at short stories on crime and suspense collected by editors in cities around the world. Tan looks at a Singapore rarely explored in Western literature and the people that inhabit its urban streets under cover of darkness.
Haroon K. Ullah is a Pakistani-American scholar and diplomat who grew up in rural Washington and has spent his life visiting and re-visiting his homeland. He feels that Westerners lack an understanding of the “real” Pakistan beneath the headlines. Over the years he focused on a family and through their eyes tried to tell the story of a nation, its dreams, its struggles and its realities. “The Bargain From The Bazaar – A Family’s Day of Reckoning in Lahore” (Public Affairs) is the fascinating result.
“Troubling Borders – An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora” is an important new collection edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen published by University of Washington Press. Pairing image and text, this book showcases creative writing and visual images by sixty-two women of Southeast Asian descent. Watch the trailer to this book by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOxVrYYUkiAandfeature=c4-overviewandlist=UUge4MONgLFncQ1w1C_BnHcw.
“dear sister – letters from survivors of sexual violence” (AK Press) is an important new anthology in which those who have suffered from sexual violence pen personal letters to other women. It is edited by Lisa Factora-Borders. Go to www.akpress.org for details.
Three new books on Korean culture are due to be published by Seoul Selection shortly. “100 Thimbles in a Box” introduces readers to the world of Korean handicrafts. “A Korean Kitchen Companion is a new book on Korean cuisine. “Charlie And Liz’s Seoul Subway Travelogue” is a Korean language exploration of the Korean capital through its’ subway system also available in an e-book version. Go to www.seoulselection.com for details.
“Invisible Hands – Voices From The Global Economy” (Voice Of Witness) forthcoming in May, 2014 is a powerful collection of oral history culled from workers around the world. It is compiled and edited by Corinne Goria with a foreword by Kalpona Akter. For more information on this book. Go to www.voiceofwitness.org.
Korean literature is gaining more international exposure. 10 Korean writers (all from South Korea) have been invited to attend this year’s London Book Fair.
Bay Area based writer Aimee Phan (“We Should Never Meet”, “The Reeducation of Cherry Truong”) recently penned an essay about the lack of reviews that writers of color in America receive in the mainstream media. The article entitled “Why Mainstream Critics Fail Writers of Color” cites research provided by Roxanne Gay that demonstrated that 90 percent of the books reviewed in the New York Times were by white authors. For more, go to – talkingwriting.com/why-mainstream-critics-fail-writers-color.
API CHAYA is the only agency in Washington State focused on providing services to Asian and Pacific Islander domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking survivors, and their families. Their 11th annual fundraiser, “The Power of Community Dinner & Auction” takes place on Saturday, April 19th at The Westin Seattle. The event starts at 6pm and will include Taiko drummers, a sit-down dinner, live auction and an inspiring program focused on the organization’s important work. To register for this fun and meaningful event, go to www.apichaya.org.
The ID Spring Roll 2014 is a benefit event that provides crucial support to the Chinatown/ID community and the Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation and Development Authority. It takes place this year on Friday, May 30th at the Wing at 6pm. $100 admission. Go to www.idspringroll.org for details.
Local area high school jazz programs continue to win honors nationally. The famed Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble took first place in the AAAA division of the 2014 Clark College Jazz Festival as well as winning the Sweepstakes Award as the outstanding ensemble for the festival. Three members of the band nabbed Outstanding Musician Awards including pianist Alice Mar-Abe. To prove it’s no fluke, Garfield has won awards here seven times since 1995. Last year’s winner was another Seattle school, Roosevelt High School.
As part of Frye Art Museum summer art classes, Yoon-Kang O’Higgins will present an art educator workshop entitled “VTS: Practicum” August 8 – 9th from 10am – 4pm. Develop your Visual Thinking Strategies with this introduction to VTS research and theory. There will be practical work in the galleries and ample discussion and reflection. $200 members/ $245 non-members. To register, go to visualthinkingstrategies.org. Some other classes of interest include “Doll Sculptures” taught by Marita Dingus July 29th – August 1st and “Coiled Basketry: Explorations in Color and Design” taught by Gail Tremblay. For details on all summer classes, go to fryemuseum.org/classes.
Affordable studios/housing are available to artists in the Mt. Baker area. The ground floor will include a community room and a dozen commercial spaces for nonprofits, creative enterprises and related businesses. To apply, visit www.artspace.org/MtBaker.
San Francisco International Photography Exhibition features over $6,000 in awards. It is an exhibition of outstanding photography from around the world. The juror this year is Paula Tognarelli. Deadline is May 8th, 2014. Go to http://bit.ly/1hwafaQ for details.
NEA’s Challenge America Fast-Track Grants support small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. Deadline is May 8th, 2014. Go to http://bit.ly/1fe4Flu for details.
“A Day In The Life Of Asian Pacific America” seeks to capture the particulars of everyday life and piece them together to compose the ultimate wide shot. By looking at life from multiple angles, curated from the visual documentation of amateur photographers and videographers as well as professional documentarians and photojournalists, we can reveal the bigger picture. Through this online exhibit hosted by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) at apa.si.edu, we celebrate our common joys, empathize with our sorrows, and appreciate all that we mean to each other. We are asking thousands of people to take photographs and shoot video about Asian Pacific American life on May 10, 2014., the 145th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that marked the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. This historical joining of the continent was marked with a photograph that excluded the Chinese workers who were critical to the building of the railroad and the industrial modernization of America. Request an invitation to the Smithsonian Apac: A Day In The Life flickr group by sending an email to [email protected]. Please send the email via your registered Flickr email address or include your Flickr username in the email. Please include your full name, location you plan to be on May 10, 2014 (the day of the content capture). You will receive your invitation to the group by May 1, 2014. Take images on May 10 between 12am and 11:59pm on your current timezone. You may submit up to 5 photos OR up to 5 videos with a total runtime of 3 minutes. For more information, contact guest curator Eddie Wong at [email protected]. A local component to this national project comes from the Wing Luke Museum. On April 26th from 11 am – 1pm, there will be a photography workshop where local professionals (including Carina del Rosario, Rod Mar and Rick Wong) discuss their approach to the photo essay – where a few images can tell an entire story. Call Visitor Services at (206) 623-5124 to sign up for this exciting photography workshop.
Peggy Kelsey, author of “Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women” will make a West Coast tour this summer in the following cities. If anyone out there is interested in having her make a presentation on the subject of Afghan women, feel free to contact her directly. You can learn more by going to www.kelseys.net. She will be in San Francisco June 26th – 30th, Eugene on July 1st, Portland on July 2nd, Olympia on July 3rd and Seattle from July 4th – 9th.
How would you like to eat delicious Asian cuisine and learn how to make what you eat? Friends of Asian Art Association gives you that chance with their “The Art of Asian Cuisine” series. Visit with top chefs and learn how to make meals they would cook at home. Here is the schedule – India on Sat., May 17th, Japan on Mon., June 16th, Pakistan on Sun., July 13th and Korea on Fri., Aug. 29th. For more information or to register, email [email protected] or call (206) 522-5438. Hurry as tickets are going fast!
Bay Area jazz drummer Akira Tana led a group of Japanese American and Japanese musicians living in the US on a good will tour of the devastated area of Japan where the tsunami took place last year. They performed a series of free concerts for those communities in the tsunami area still trying to put their lives back together. Now Tana plans another tour to the same area later this year but he needs your help. If you can help support the “Bringing Jazz to Japan for Earthquake Tsunami Relief Project”, go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bringing-jazz-to-japan-for-earthquake-tsunami-relief for details.