One of the first museum exhibitions of work by noted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the Northwest is now on view through April 11, 2016 at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art. “Ai Weiwei: Fault Line” presents three pieces from his ongoing investigation into the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, a magnitude 8.0 quake that killed over 60,000 people including 5,196 schoolchildren in Sichuan province, China. 540 Spring St. Friday Harbor, WA. 360-370-5050.
The Cascadia Art Museum is a new museum in Edmonds dedicated to the legacy of the Northwest from the late 19th century to the mid-modernist period of the 1960’s. Their current show up till May 1 is “Looking back, Moving Forward – A Centennial Tribute To The Cornish College of The Arts with historic paintings, sculptures, photographs, costumes, videos and selected ephemera that document the significant impact the school has made both nationally and internationally. Coming in May are two shows – “Re-discoovered Northwest Photographers, 1930 – 1960” and “The Art of John Matsudaira (1922-2007)”, one of the forgotten members of the “Northwest School”. 190 Sunset Ave. #E in Edmonds. Hours are Wed. – Sun. from 11am – 6pm and Artwalk Edmonds Third Thursdays from 5 – 8pm. 425-336-4809.
“MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture” is the largest exhibition ever attempted at Vancouver Art Gallery and it will trace the evolution and development of art production known as “mashup”, collage or remix. Includes found images, objects, sound work from the turn of the twentieth century and examines how it has become a dominant force in our world today. With work by dozens of world artists working in a broad range of media including video, architecture, film sculpture, graphic design, industrial design, drawing, music, digital media, illustration and fashion design. Opens Feb. 20 and remains on view until June 12, 2016. 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Go to www.vanartgallery.bc.ca for details.
Local ceramic artist Bruce Amstutz has a show of his wood-fired ceramics from Feb. 20 – March 13. Opening reception is Sat., Feb. 20 from 3 – 5pm. Want to learn more about the art of Japanese flower arrangement? Sogetsu School Ikebana instructor Megumi Schacher gives a demonstration on Friday, Feb. 27 from 2 – 3pm with a Q & A to follow. KOBO at Higo at 604 S. Jackson. 206-726-0704 or email [email protected]. A sister store is on Capitol Hill at 814 E. Roy as well.
The work of Thuy-Van Vu is included in the SOIL Invitational group show, “Heptadecagon” through Feb. 27. Regular hours are Th. – Sun. from 12 – 5pm. 112 – 3rd Ave. S. For details, email [email protected].
“The Art of Alzheimer’s: The Artist Within” is a first-of-its-kind group exhibition that celebrates the creativity unimpeded by memory loss. Artwork by people ages 60 – 100 years old is on display. The show is up until Feb. 26 in the Seattle City Hall Lobby and the Anne Focke Galleries. For details, go to http://www.theartofalzheimers.net/.
The work of Margot Quan Knight and Rob Rhee is included in a group show entitled “The Potato Eaters” guest curated by Dawn Cerny and Dan Webb. Show is on view through Feb. 20. Greg Kucera Gallery. 212 Third Ave. S. 206-624-0770 or go to www.gregkucera.com.
The work of contemporary Japanese printmaker Hiroyuki Tajima is on view through Feb. 27. A group show on “Contemporary Chinese Printmaking” opens in March. Davidson Galleries at 313 Occidental Ave. S. 206-624-1324 or go to www.davidsongalleries.com.
The work of Thuy-Van Vu is included in an upcoming group show entitled “At Large” set to run through Feb. 27 at G. Gibson Gallery at 300 S. Washington St. Go to www.ggibsongallery.com for details.
“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” is a show that should prove to be a family favorite. On loan from the Japanese American National Museum, the show lands in Seattle at the EMP Museum at Seattle Center through May 15, 2016. The show looks on the history of the Japanese icon and her influence on popular culture. Includes an extensive product survey, with rare and unique items from the Sanrio archives, alongside a selection of innovative contemporary artworks inspired by Hello Kitty and her world. 5th Ave. N. (206) 770-2700. $25 general admission ($20 for EMP members), $10 or youth 5 – 17. Free for kids 4 and under.
Seattle Art Museum downtown is “Conversations With Curators” series is back. The series takes place Wednesday evenings between November and goes on through June, 2016. There is a 6pm Happy Hour in the South Hall and the lectures start at 7pm in the Plestcheeff Auditorium. Some highlights include the following. March 16 is “A Special Evening With SAM’s Newest Curator” which introduces Foong Ping, the Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art. Tickets are $7 per talk. Available to museum members only but members may purchase tickets for their guests at $10 per lecture. Get tickets online at visitsam.org/tickets or by phone or in person at either SAM or the Asian Art Museum. 1300 First Ave. (206) 654-3210 or go to www.seattleartmuseum.org.
“Sites of Meaning: Caring for Asia’s Cultural Heritage” is the title of the Gardner Center for Asian Art & Ideas new Winter Saturday University Series which runs from Jan. 30 – March 19 & then again on April 9 from 9:30 – 11am. On Feb. 6, Jorge Otero-Pailos talks about “Experimental Preservation in the Anthropocene”, on Feb. 13 David Park addresses “Buddhist Painting: A Fragile Inheritance”, on Feb. 20 Brent Huffman talks about “Saving Mes Aynak, a Buddhist Site at Risk in Afghanistan”, on Feb. 27, Dina Bandel looks at “Cultural Heritage and Artist Outreach in Post-Earthquake Nepal”, on March 5, Mimi Gardner Gates speaks on “Buddhist Caves at Dunhuang: Art, Spirituality, and Cultural Heritage”, on March 12, David Geary looks at “Multiple Lives of a Sacred Site in Bodh Gaya, India”, on March 19, Shiraz Allibhai speaks about “Let the Beauty We Love, Be What We Do: Restoring Gardens in Cairo, Kabul, Lahore, an Delhi”, and finally on April 9, Neville Agnew will talk about “Dimensions of Conservation at the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang”. Full series tickets available in advance and individual tickets sold at the door on a fist-come, first-served basis, Held in partnership with the Dunhuang Foundation and the UW Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company. Tickets available in person at the Seattle Art Museum or the Asian Art Museum. You can also purchase online at visitsam.org/tickets or by calling 206-654-3210. 206-442-8480 or go to [email protected].
The work of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law is included in a group show “Arboral Dreams: The Tree in Art” Feb. 13 – March 5. Krab Jab Studio at 5628 Airport Way S. Suite 150 or go to krabjabstudio.com.
“Project 562” is a series by Matika Wilbur that looks to document the lives of Native Americans today. Through June 11. The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve at 6410 23rd Ave. NE in Tulalip. 360-716-2600 or go to hibulbculturalcenter.org.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara has been given to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.) In other news, Hirahara’s Oregon photographs of the Japanese American post-WWII experience in the Pacific Northwest are now available online at Densho. To see his documentation of Nikkei Oregon life in “New Partner Collection: Frank C. Hirahara Photographs From The Oregon Nikkei Endowment”, go to http://www.densho.org/new-partner-collection-frank-c-hirahara-photographs-from-the-oregon-nikkei-endowment/. Also a profile of the Washington State University Hirahara Collection of photos from Heart Mountain is now featured on the Japanese American History Not For Sale Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the following upcoming shows. “Nanga – Literati Painting of Old Japan” from April 9 – June 26, 2016. “Modernization in Meiji Japan (1868-1912) – Images of Changing Architecture, Transportation and War” from April 22 – August 28, 2016. “China’s Favourite Pottery for Tea, Yixing Ware” from July 1 – Oct. 18, 2016. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Call 1-250-384-4171.
Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori and Lead Pencil Studio (Annie Han & Daniel Milhayo) were both recipients of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum which will give all winners a group show which has been re-scheduled to run through May 8 in 2016. The extension will allow some artists to do brand-new work site-specific to the PAM space. The Portland Art Museum is at 1219 SW Park Ave. Go to www.portlandartmuseum.org for details.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene has the following –Remaining on view until July 24, 2016 is “‘True’ Korean Landscapes & Virtuous Scholars” and “Benevolence & Loyalty: Filial Piety in Chinese Art” up until July 31, 2016. 1430 Johnson Lane. (541) 346-3027.
Seattle artist Lauren Iida now has a website where all her recent work can be seen at http://www.laureniida.com/currently-available.html. Currently her work can be seen in the Mayor’s Gallery at Seattle City Hall. In related news, the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture has purchased a cut paper/sumi ink portrait of her great grandmother Asa. Iida is teaching paper cutting through Gage Academy at Sanctuary Arts to homeless youth. She will be part of “Strange Coupling”, a juried collaborative art project between working professional artists and UW students. Her work can be seen in person at ArtXchange Gallery (www.artxhange.org) and the artist’s own website is www.laureniida.com.
Photographer/artist/educator Carina del Rosario has the following projects and activities. “Epilogue” is a group show and artistic collaboration with IDEA Odyssey Cellective co-founders Minh Carrico and SuJ’n Chon. On view at Edmonds Community College Art Gallery in Lynwood Hall on the 3rd floor through March 14. Artists Reception on Sat., March 5 from 3 – 5pm. “ Seattle Art Museum’s New Republic Community Portraits” is presented in conjunction with the museum’s Kehinde Wiley exhibition and features 40 portraits by Zorn B. Taylor and Carina del Rosario. On display in SAM’s Community Gallery in the South Hall during the month of February. Grand Opening Reception on Sat., Feb. 11 from 5 –10pm. Taylor and del Rosario continue the project with “Public Portrait Sessions” at SAM through April. The Museum of Culture and the Environment at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. presents a show entitled “Liberty Denied: Migration, Detention, Deportation” from April 2 – June 1, 2016. Carina del Rosario’s Passport Series is part of this exhibit.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “New Years All Year Round” opens on Sat., Jan. 16. See how the New Year is celebrated in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Hmong cultures in this interactive and kid-friendly exhibit. Opening March 3 from 6 – 8pm is “Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden”, an exhibit that celebarates this neighborhood resource which preserves culture, tradition and identity. Free. Light refreshments provided and speaking program to follow. “Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books is a recent show to open at the museum. “CONSTRUCT/S” is a group show that presents a diverse group of six international, national and local female artists who will transform The Wing’s art gallery into a multi-sensory, interactive exploration of identity, subjectivity, history, culture and gender. It is curated by Dr. Stacey Uradomo-Barre. It remains on view through April 17th, 2016. Artists include the following – Terry Acebo Davis from California recreates her mother’s bedroom drawing upon the fact that she is suffering from dementia. This room is a place she yearns to return to and the piece deals with a fragmented narrative of memory, loss, identity, and Filipino American culture. Kaili Chun from Hawai’I has an interactive installation of man-made steel bars that unlock to grapple with issues of subjectivity and community and reflect the continuous socio-political negotiation of Native Hawaiians with the mainstream society. Yong Soon Min from California, after a career exploring Korean American Identity and colonialism now examines her own personal struggle of pain and trauma as she tries to recover from a cerebral hemorrhage that affected her ability to form language and memories. Min has shown previously in Seattle with temporary art installations. Tamiko Thiel (Germany) & Midori Kono Thiel (Seattle) present a mother-daughter collaboration combining traditional calligraphy with mobile technology. Their augmented reality installation virtually links art and culture with physical landmarks significant to the local Japanese American community. Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts went to Evergreen College in Olympia as a student. She has shown here previously with an installation at Suyama Space and a show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Her new piece here was inspired by the early 20th century tent houses of Japanese immigrant farmers. This work interweaves family memories and community history, evoking the migratory nature of the Japanese American farming community. She also has a public art commission at the Seattle Public Library planned as well. A catalog for this show is available. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. Year 2 of the exhibition opens Oct. 3rd, 2015 and digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Includes text panels by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) plus Green Hornet toys, personal letters, behind-the-scenes photos from the sets of “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon”, hand-written film notes, rare photos inside his early Chinatown studio and much much more. A new set of Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tours begin Oct. 6th. YouthCAN is a teen arts group at the Wing and their new exhibit entitled “Imprint: Identity through Art” done under the guidance of teaching artist Raj Makker is up for all to see until March 25, 2016. On Thurs., Feb. 4 at 11am, kids will hear from the book entitled “Year of the Monkey?”. Thurs., March 3 at 11am brings the book “Red Knit Cap Gril” which follows her and her forest friends on a journey. All activities are free with fun art activity to follow. Save the date of Sat., March 26 for The Wing’s Dinner & Auction at the Westin Seattle. For more information on this annual event, go to wingluke.org/2016auction or call 206-623-5124 ext 105. “The International Dumpling Crawl” is back by popular demand. Try a variety of the neighborhood’s delicious dumplings. Starts Jan. 23 (every last two Saturdays of the month) until March. Go to wingluke.org/tours for details. The museum is offering two week-long Landmarks of American History & Culture workshops that focus on the hidden histories of Asian Pacific pioneers, from the early 1800s to WWII. Session 1 is July 17 – 23. Session 2 is July 31 – August 6. Application deadline is March 1, 2016. These 2016 NEH Workshops are for K – 12 School Teachers. For details, go to [email protected] or try http://wingluke.org/teachers-institute. The Museum is located 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.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.
“Pacific Voices” is an ongoing exhibit that celebrates the language, teachings, art, and cultural ceremonies of seventeen cultures from the Pacific Rim. Burke Museum at the University of Washington. 17th Ave. NE & E 45th Streets. (206) 543-5590 or try Washington.edu/burkemuseum.
Seattle artist Louie Gong spent January in Molokai teaching kids his unique hand-painted designs for sneakers or mockups as he calls them. Products using his design motifs culled from his dual Native American/Chinese American cultural roots include wool blankets, cotton and “Local 12’s” throw blankets, “good medicine” tee-shirts and reflection necklaces. Available through his Eighth Generation Company. For details, email info@eighth generation.cc. Gong’s art can be seen at ArtXchange Gallery. Go to www.artxchange.org for details.
Artist Lois Yoshida teaches ink & brush painting classes at Frye Art Museum on Feb. 13 & Feb. 27 at 10am. 704 Terry. 206-622-9250.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – “Journey to Dunhuang – Buddhist Art of the Silk Road Caves” opens March 5 and stays on view through June 12, 2016 in the Foster Galleries. Discovered in 1943 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the caves are a treasure trove of Buddhist sculptures, manuscripts, painted scrolls, and wall paintings. The photographs of James and Lucy Lo, the couple who first discovered the caves will be on view as well as ancient manuscripts and artist renderings. To complement the show, there will be an installation of Buddhist art drawn from the SAM collection. Organized in cooperation with the Princeton University Art Museum and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art. For details on this show, go to visitsam.org/dunhuang. First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Paradox Of Place: Contemporary Korean Art” is a new show ending March 13, 2016 at the Tateuchi Galleries. This is the first major exhibition of Korean contemporary art in over a decade in Seattle. This show was put together in collaboration with Ms. Choi Eunju, former chief curator of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea. Six leading-edge Korean contemporary artists’ representative works will be in this show. Works range from mix-media, installation, video art, to photography, all of which are prominent forms in Korean contemporary art. Co-organized by the Seattle Art Museum and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea with generous support from the Korea Foundation. A related activity includes local artist Susie Lee who designs an experience of different personal perspectives within the show “Paradox of Place” with short talks with Royal Alley-Barnes, Lisa Fitzhugh, Evan Flory Barnes, Tonya Lockyear, Charles Mudede, and Jeffrey Mitchell. Takes place on Fri., Feb. 26 at 6pm. Ticket are $10 and $5 for members. Opening April 9 and staying on view through Oct. 9, 2016 in the Tateuchi Galleries is “Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World.” The show looks at how the color blue creates so many moods in cloth around the world. Drawn primarily from SAM’s global textile collection, the show illuminates the historic scope of this vibrant pigment. On view will be tapestries from Belgium, a Chinese silk court robe, kimonos from Japan, batiks and ikats from Indonesia and Africa, and ancient fragments from Peru and Egypt. An immersive contemporary installation devoted to indigo by Rowland Ricketts with a soundtrack by sound artist Nobert Herber will also be on view. On April 1 from the “SAM Talks” series, exhibition curator Pam McCluskey speaks about the show. On April 27, there will be an “Art Beyond Sight Tour – Undercover: Textiles from the Past and Present.” May 7 is the “Free First Saturday” event for this show. A related activity for this show on May 20 is “Art Globally: Indigo Workshop” with master dyer Sophena Kwon who will help you create patterns and dye your own cloth and indigo. All materials and refreshments included in the $75 ticket, SAM members, $65. Under the “Asia Talks” series you will find the following events. On Thurs., March 3 at 7pm, Director Adam Sjoberg will screen his documentary film “I Am Sun Mu” which looks at this former North Korean propaganda artist who defected and now works in South Korea under his alias meaning “no boundaries”. He transforms propaganda imagery into satirical political pop art. A discussion follows the film. $10 general and $5 for SAM members. On Thurs., March 17 at 7pm “Buddhist Art Inspiration” lets visitors view a new installation of Buddhist art in discussion with artists and professionals who have adapted Buddhist concepts into their art and other work. Includes retired UW Prof./writer Charles Johnson with David Berger and Dr. Ron Yeh.Tickets for this are $10 general and $5 for SAM members. Somini Sengupta is the author of “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young”. Upon her return to India as bureau chief for the New York Times, she wrote this book about the world’s largest democracy at this moment of transition. She talks about it on Thurs., March 24 at 7pm. Reserve your free tickets at visitsam.org/tickets. Yuji Yamada, Professor at Mie University Department of Humanities will talk about “Skills of the Ninjas” on Thurs., May 5 at 7pm. You may have seen ninjas invested with superhuman powers and impressive skills in films and animated movies but Yamada cuts to the chase and talks about the real ninjas who actually existed. Attired in personal ninja attire, Yamada will tell you what ninjas were really like based on his research. In Japanese with English interpretation. $10 general and $5 for SAM members. “Yoni Ki Baat: A South Asian Adaptation of the Vagina Monologues” is an annual and always popular performance piece which features vivid monologues by local South Asian Women based on their own personal experiences. The cast changes yearly. Directed by Afrose Fatima Ahmed and presented with Tasveer as part of the full weekend Aaina Festival at the Asian Art Museum. On Fri., April 15 & Sat., April 16 at 7pm and Sun., April 17 from 3 – 5pm. Reserve your free tickets at visitsam.org/tickets. Seattle Asian Art Museum is at 1400 Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. 206-442-8480 or go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter or [email protected].
Local sculptor Robert Rhee’s past show at Glassbox Gallery entitled “Winter Wheat” was nominated for the City Arts Winter Art Walk Award.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland has “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community” a show that celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon’s Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences – from early settlement through the trials and tribulations of WWII and into the 21st century. Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
“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.
“New Stories from the Edge of Asia: Tabaimo” marks the first solo museum exhibition of this amazing Japanese artist who uses alluring large-scale surreal animations that combine everyday objects and experiences. Opens Feb. 5, 2016 at the San Jose Museum of Art. 110 South Market St. (408) 271-6840. Not to miss!
The state of Hawai’i does not have a single museum or art venue dedicated to contemporary art. That’s about to change when the first Honolulu Biennial opens in the spring of 2017 in Honolulu and locations throughout the islands. Both local talents as well as national and international contemporary artists will be highlighted, many for the first time in Hawai’i. The curatorial director is Fumio Nanjo, also director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Social, political and geographic issues of state and colonial cultures will be emphasized. Some of the artists already selected to exhibit include Yayoi Kusama of Japan, MAP Office of Hong Kong, Mohammed Kazem of the United Arab Emirates, Brett Graham, Fiona Pardington and Yuki Kihara of New Zealand as well as local artists such as Les Filter Feeders, sculptor Charlton Kupa’a Hee and Oahu artist Andrew Binkley. Excerpted from ArtsBeat.
The USC Pacific Asia Museum opens their exhibition “Royal Taste: The Art of Princely Courts in 15th Century China” on Feb. 26, 2016. On view through June 26, 2016. Recent archaeological finds, jewelry, devotional statues, textiles and porcelains – many on display in the U.S. for the first time are included. 46 Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena, CA. 626-449-2742 or email [email protected].
Installation artist Amy Yao mixes the industrial and domestic in her look at contamination in a show at Various Small Fires through March 5, 2016. 812 N. Highland in Los Angeles. 310-426-8040.
Ceramic artist Keiko Fukazawa’s latest show “Made In China” subverts her media to produce playful, tongue-in-cheek jabs at society. Her pieces are made of cast-off pieces of porcelain salvaged from a mass-production factory in China with a working history going back 1,500 years. A row of porcelain spoons with portraits of Mao in various stages of his life appear in the cavity of the spoon where one slurps up the soup. Craft And Folk Art Museum. On view through May 8, 2016. At 5814 Wilshire in Los Angeles. 323-937-4230. Or go to www.cafam.org.
The Japanese American National Museum has the following current and upcoming exhibitions. Ongoing is “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” is a historical group show that incorporates hundreds of objects, documents and photographs collected by the Museum on over 130 years of Japanese American history. Looking further down the road is an important photography show entitled “Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920 – 1940” tentatively set for Feb. 28 – June 26 of 2016 and curated by Southern California photography historian Dennis Reed who has curated a previous excellent show of the Japanese Camera Club of Los Angeles. 100 North Central Ave. (213) 625-0414.
“Asian Art at 100: A History in Photographs” is a survey of the Met’s Asian galleries photographed from 1907 – 19 45. Through May 22, 2016. “Celebrating The Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection”. Over 300 items from what many consider the best Japanese art collection outside of Japan are on view through July 31, 2016. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
“Reopening Of The Renwick Gallery”. The first building in the nation designed specifically as an art museum officially reopens after a two year renovation with “Wonder” in which nine contemporary artists were invited to create room-size installations inspired by the building itself. Maya Lin is one of them. Opens Nov. 13 and remains on view until July 10, 2016. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery are along the museum mall in Washington, D.C.
Coming in 2016 is “Kamakura: Realism And Spirituality In The Sculpture Of Japan” More than 40 sculptures which show the relationship between realism and sacred use of the objects. The Kamakura era is often regarded as a period similar to the Renaissance in Europe. Feb. 9 through May 8, 2016. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
In March of 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over the building designed by Marcel Breuer that was once the Whitney Museum. A retrospective of the Indian modernist painter Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) will be one of three opening exhibits in this building. The Met’s current artist-in-residence, jazz composter/pianist Vjay Iyer will do a number of appearances as well. The building will now be known as the Met Breuer. Madison Ave. and 75th St. in New York or go to metmuseum.org for details. In the Museum’s efforts to widen its coverage of global art, they have hired Shanay Jhaveri as Assistant Curator of South Asian Art, a newly created position.
The first U.S. survey of the work of Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Hongtu comes to the Queens Museum of art. The artist left China in 1982 and settled in Queens. Through Feb. 28, 2016. Email [email protected] for details.
“Martin Wong: Human Instamatic” covers the full trajectory of this Chinese American painter from his Bay Area roots to his pivotal role in documenting the multicultural environs of the Lower East Side of New York. “Transitions: New Photography From Bangladesh” is also on view. Both shows have been extended through March 15, 2016. Bronx Museum of the Arts in Bronx, New York. 1040 Grand Concourse. (718) 681-6000. The West Coast site for the traveling exhibition of Martin Wong will be Sept. – Dec. 2017 at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in their new location on Center St. Wong’s show gets a nice spread in an article entitled “Street Life” by Eleanor Heartney in the February 2016 issue of Art in America.
Although the late Japanese artist Onichi Koshiro never traveled West, his work bore innovations from European modernism that surface in his mastery of the traditional Japanese art tradition. The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo gives him the first retrospective of his work in twenty years and includes oil paintings, photographs, drawings, printmaking and book design. Jan. 13 – Feb. 28, 2016.
Korean modern sculptor/installation artist Do Ho Suh (his work is in Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection) has a show of his translucent “fabric buildings” at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Feb. 12 – Sept. 11, 2016.
“Harajuku – Tokyo Street Fashion” looks at Harajuku’s current trends and wide influence around the world. Opens Nov. 19 and remains on view through April 3, 2016. Honolulu Museum of Art at 900 Beretania St. Go to www.honolulumuseum.org for details.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. will honor architect/artist Maya Lin for her achievements in the arts at the inaugural American Portrait Gala in November. She has completed her largest commission to date, a campus in Cambridge, Mass., for the pharmaceutical company, Novartis. It opens in December. Its exterior looks like a modern version of a New England stonewall. A new room installation entitled “Folding the Chesapeake” opens at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. A new book on her art and architecture has just been published by Skira/Rizzoli. Two ongoing projects dealing with the environment that she’s working on are “What is Missing?”, a multisite, multimedia work that focuses on a crisis of biodiversity and “Confluence” which are six outdoor installations that enable viewers to see wildlife from a different perspective.
The Whitney Museum of American Art announced that it has appointed two of their own curators to curate the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Previous editions of the biennial have been met with controversy and criticism. Christopher Y. Lew is an assistant curator at the Whitney. Mia Locks will join Lew in selecting artists. This marks one of the first times that both curators are Asian American.
Part 5 of “The Treasures of Kansong: Preserving National Identity Through Culture” displays HwaHoeYoungMo, Korea’s unique genre of plant and animal paintings. In ancient times, this genre was as popular as landscape and portrait paintings. On view through March 27, 2016. Dongdaemiun Design Plaza in Seoul. Located near Dongdaemiun Culture Park Station at Exit 1.
Rui Sasaki is a Japanese artist and educators working mainly in transparent materials. She works at Toyama City Institute of Glass Art. This summer from July 5 – 22, she will be teaching at Pilchuck a class in glassblowing entitled “Wonder bubbles”. Exploring the infinite possibilities that glass presents, students will find their own paths of expression. For this and other classes, you can apply online at pilchuck.com.
The Smithsonian Museum of American History has an exhibition planned on Japanese American experiences druing WW II, following the passage of Executive Order 9066 in 1942. The museum is seeking possible donations of items for inclusion in the exhibition. For details, contact Noriko Sanefuji at [email protected] or call 202-633-3340. The museum recently held a program on Feb. 19 entitled “Japanese American Incarceration and the Art of Identity that commemorated “The Day of Remembrance”, the day that President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WW II. Former internee/artist Roger Shimomura spoke with film producer David Ono at a preview of a new documentary film on the artist by Ono. Japan News is also doing a documentary in Japan on the artist.
The January 2016 issue of Art in America has a special feature on comic art. Included is an article by Seattle artist and Cornish art teacher Rob Rhee entitled “Drawn Together” that looks at the resurgence of alternative comics and zines in Seattle. Ryan Holmberg also has an article entitled “When Manga Was Pop” that counters the assertion that Pop art began in Japan through the introduction of work by Johns, Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein. Instead, the article says that Pop art in Japan goes back to the early 50’s and can be found in their manga (comic book) tradition.
Lighting as an art form is often taken for granted but anyone who has attended a play and seen an art show will realize how poor or effective lighting affects artistically how we see and are influenced by things. Jeong Mee and Chung Kang-wha, a married couple in Seoul who specialize in urban lighting design are trying to do something about it. After returning from study in Japan, the couple realized how stark and black the city looked. For the past few years, the couple has played a leading role in helping to design the nightscape of Seoul. They participate in the city-government-led “Seoul Night View Project” and consult on the “Euljiro Light Way 2015 Festival”. Excerpted from an article by Park Hung-Soo in the Korea Joongang Daily. Go to http://koreajoongangdaily.join.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3013494 to read the full article.
“The World Is Our Home” is a group show at Para Site, an independent art center based in Hong Kong guest-curated by Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero. It looks at the ways that artists around the world both in East Asia and elsewhere were influenced by the aesthetics of Asian Art. Tomie Ohtake, a Japanese-born artist who lived in Brazil from 1939 until her death is represented by her minimal oil paintings. The late American artist Robert Motherwell, by paintings that used black brush strokes that show the influences of calligraphy. Tang Chong’s drawings show his outrage at the Thai government during the student protests of the 1970’s with typographic abstractions with words like “dictator” or “imprison” scratched onto the canvas. Conceptual American artist Bruce Nauman (the only one still living in the show) is shown moving methodically along a square on his studio floor alluding to a Zen-like disciplined practice of mundane tasks. The show remains up until March 6, 2016. 22/ F – Wing Wah Industrial Bldg., 677 King’s Road. Go to www.para-site.org for details.
Another show that originated from Para-Site is now on view in Mexico City.”Great Crescent – Art And Agitation in the 1960’s – Japan, South Korea and Taiwan”. On view through May 26, 2016. Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, MUAC – National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Asia Society in New York has received a 2 million dollar grant from Minnesota-based Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation.
Clara Kim, former senior curator at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis has been appointed senior curator at the Tate Modern in London.
Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum is the winner of the 10th Hiroshima Art Prize, a triennial award established in 1989 by the Japanese city in recognition of artists whose practice promotes world peace.
The Noguchi Museum in New York gave their third annual Isamu Noguchi Awards to Japanese architect Tadao Andao and American artist Elyn Zimmerman. The award is “given to recognize individuals who share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and East-West exchange.”
The 22nd annual Wolfgang Hahn Prize went to Chinese-born, Paris-based artist Huang Yong Ping who will be given an exhibition and catalog by the Museum Ludwing in Cologne, Germany.
Japanese “Mono-ha” artist Kishio Suga won the 2016 Mainichi Art Award in Jan. Established in 1959 by the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, it recognizes the outstanding contributions of people in the arts.
The artist duo team of Rong Rong (China) and inri (Japan) will receive the Sony World Photography Awards’ “Outstanding Contributor to Photography Prize” to be presented in April, 2016.
A stimulating mélange of jazz, hip hop and the avant garde will be presented on Feb. 25 at The Lofi Performance Gallery. Doors open at 8:30pm and show starts at 9pm. The concert featuring Dex Amorca, Bad Luck, Evan Flory-Barnes & Beth Fleenor and JCB WST spreads out like a family tree of jazz. Organized by jazz drummer Chris Icasiano, the concert with four acts rooted in Seattle takes the listener on a journey from old-school hip-hop vibes to free-improvisation to blues and intersections in-between. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/976561/986355091449079.
SIS Productions popular staging of “Paper Angels” by Ginny Lim as directed by ReAct Theatre’s David Hsieh makes an encore as part of the Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival on Saturdays, Feb. 27 & March 5 at 5pm. Seattle Center House Theatre located in the Seattle Center Armory on the Ground Floor. Tickets only $10 at http://seattlefringefestival.org/paper-angels/ With a rotating cast which includes Stephen Sumida, Chris Wong, Henry Drew, Allen Go, Kevin Lin, Andy Tran, Eloisa Cardona, Anna Saephan, Grace Ai Nguyen, Maydene Pang, Kathy Hsieh, Kelly Johnson, Christopher Berns, Robert Pillitteri, James Thomas Patrick, Ian McIntire, Ryan St. Martin and Austin Harry.
In honor of the Japanese American Day of Remembrance, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, Friends of Minidoka and Seattle University present this year’s “Day of Remembrance Taiko Fundraiser 2016” on Sun., Feb. 21 from 1 – 4pm. The concert features taiko groups from around the Northwest in concert. Proceeds will go to scholarships for youth and former internees over 80 years old so that they might attend to the pilgrimage to Minidoka, a former internment camp that many Japanese Americans from the Seattle area were incarcerated at during WW II. Seattle University is at 901 – 12th Ave. For advance tickets, try Brown Paper Tickets. For more details, go to http://www.minidokapilgrimage.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center presents “The Suyama Project: The No-Nos/Tule Lake Discussion & Project Archives Presentation on Sat., March 12, 2016 from 2 – 4pm at the Japanese Cultural And Community Center of Washington. At this special event, participants will discuss the subject of the No-Nos and the Tule Lake Camp as well as explore how the government depicted all forms of protest as an act of disobedience, a stigma which haunts the Japanese American community to this day. Also to be discussed is the importance of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s Suyama Project, which aims to preserve the history of Japanese American resistance during WW II in all of its complex diversity. View the Suyama Project by going to http://suyamaproject.org. Speakers at this forum include Frank Abe, Roger Daniels, Barbara Takei and Suyama Project’s Lane Hirabayashi, Martha Nakagawa and Tam Nguyen. To RSVP, call 310-825-2974 or visit suyamasea-aasc.eventbrite.com. 1414 South Weller St. in Seattle.
The Esoterics is a Seattle-based award-winning choir led by Eric Banks known for performing and commissioning contemporary compositions for choir. They kick off their 23rd season with “RUMI: Within each timeless droplet”, a program of compositions by contemporary composers inspired by the 13th century Sufi mystic. “Song of the Night” by Philippine composer and 2009 POLYPHONICS winner Nilo Alcala is one of the songs on the program. Concerts are at the following venues. March 11 at 8pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 4805 NE 45th in Seattle. March 12 at 8pm at Holly Rosary Catholic Church at 4142 42nd Ave. SW in West Seattle. March 13 at 3pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 114- 20th Ave. SE in Olympia. $25 at the door and $22 in advance. Discounts for seniors, students, underemployed and differently-able. If you are active singers in other choral groups, admission is free. Tickets at www.TheEsoterics.org.
ON The Boards has another exciting season of performance art in all genres. Tanya Tagaq is an amazing Inuit throat singer who digs into past, present and future with a flexible, powerful voice that will have you on your feet as she blends native tradition with electronica, industrial and metal influences to tear apart the walls of the silent movie, “Nanook of the North” projected behind her as she sings. One night only on April 6, 2016. 100 Roy St. (206) 217-9888.
Keiko Green stars as Mash in the new comedy “Stupid F—king Bird” by Aaron Posner set to open April 8 and run till May 8 at ACT Allen Theatre at 700 Union St. 206-292-7676 or go to www.acttheatre.com for details.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Cultural Fest is a two-day event that celebrates the diversity and talent of local international students and scholars. Produced by the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS), Feb. 12 brings the CulturalFest International Expo from 10:30am – 3pm in the Husky Union Building Ballroom. Booths representing over 35 different countries, regions and cultures are represented. On Sat., Feb. 20 the Cultural Fest Performance Showcase begins at 7pm at Meany Hall. It will showcase music and dance from around the world. For more details try www.fiuts.org/culturalfest-expo or http://www.fiuts.org/events/culturalfest/performances.
For more aloha spirit, catch HAPA on Sat., Feb. 27 at 7:30pm at Edmonds Center For The Arts. 410 Fourth Ave. N. in Edmonds, WA. 425-275-9595 or go to ec4arts.org.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown every Third Thursday at 5:30pm and every Third Sunday at 2:10pm. Free with admission.
The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world at their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center consisting of CMS Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han and violinists Sean lee and Benjamin Bellman take solo turns in music by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. One night only on March 19th, 2016 at 7:30pm. The Daedalus Quartet plays Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 7:30pm with work by Beethoven and the world premiere of a new work by UW Music composer Huck Hodge. In the “Special Events” category, sitarist Anoushka Shankar makes an appearance. Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late virtuoso sitar master, Ravi Shankar brings her own genre-defying mix to the instrument with Indian music, electronica, jazz, flamenco and Western classical music all playing a part. She performs on Sat., April 9th, 2016 at 8pm. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket
Nick Payne’s award-winning two-character drama “Constellations” as directed locally by Desdemona Chiang at Seattle Repertory Theatre on stage through Feb. 21. 206-443-2222 or go to seattlerep.org for details.
Pacific Northwest Ballet Concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim participates in a UW Faculty Chamber Music Concert on March 6 at 7:30pm at Meany Theater on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880 for tickets.
Los Angeles based Cambodian/American rock band Dengue Fever featuring Chhom Nimol on lead vocals come to Seattle’s Crocodile on March 8, 2016 to promote “The Deepest Lake”, voted one of the Best World Music Albums of 2015” by Mojo Magazine. Go to http://denguefevermusic.com/tour.php.
As part of Seattle Rep’s 2015/2016 new season, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” will be performed Jan. 8th – 31st. Due to popular demand, this play’s run has been extended so get your tickets while you can.The story is about a Pakistani-born successful New York lawyer whose life is turned upside-down when his Muslim heritage is questioned. 155 Mercer St. (206) 443-2222 for tickets.
Rupa & The April Fishes, popular Bay Area folk/world music group opens for singer/songwriter Ani Difranco on tour. Comes to the Neptune Theatre on Sun., March 6. 8pm show. All ages. Vietnamese American singer/songwriter Thao Nguyen and her Get Down Stay Down band play on Sat., March 26. 1303 N. 45th St. Tickets at tickets.com or charge by phone at 1-800-225-2777. Tickets also at Paramount Theater Box Office downtown. Co-produced with True West.
Hawai’i-based guitarist Makana plays his own dynamic slack key guitar style infused with bluegrass, rock and blues in a concert on April 1 at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle on April 1. 206-215-4747 or go to benaroyahall.org for details.
Shen Yun 2016 brings their new production of Chinese music and dance April 8 – 10 at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. 321 Mercer St. Tickets at 800-880-0188 or go to ShenYun.com/seattle or try Ticketmaster.
Noted local playwright Maggie Lee has written the third play in her well-received trilogy of steampunk plays entitled “Hand of Talons”. Presented by Pork Filled Productions, it will run from April 29 – May 21 with a multi-racial cast. Directed by Amy Poisson. At the Theatre off Jackson at 409 – 7th Ave. S. For details, go to [email protected]
“The Frye Art Museum Guitar Series” presents Connie Sheu on Sat., April 16, 2016. Sheu teaches at Pasadena Conservatory of Music. She specializes in performing original music for guitar by female composers.
“Caught”, a play by Christopher Chen gets a production by Seattle Public Theater as part of their 2015-16 Mainstage Season. It runs May 20th – June 12th, 2016 with a preview on May 19th. The play is a mind-bending satire about truth, art, and deception. When an art gallery hosts a retrospective of the work of a legendary Chinese dissident artist, the artist himself appears and shares with patrons the details of his ordeal that explores truth, art, social justice and cultural appropriation.7312 W. Green Lake Drive N. Go to www.seattlepublictheater.org for details.
“Ethnomusicology Visiting Artists Concert: Ade Suparman; Sudanese Music of Indonesia” takes place on June 2, 2016 at 7:30pm at Meany Hall on the Seattle UW campus. Go to www.music.washington.edu or call Arts UW Ticket Office at (206) 543-4880.
Internationally known Chicano playwright, director/producer Luis Valdez latest play, “Valley of the Heart” tells the story of two families in the Santa Clara Valley and the love that blossoms between a Japanese American girl and a Chicano boy in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. Presented by San Jose Stage Company in partnership with El Teatro Campesino. Feb. 10 – March 6. Some evenings already sold out so get tickets early. 408-283-7142.
“The Dream Of The Red Chamber” by Cao Xueqin ranks as one of China’s greatest classical novels that recounts the love triangle between a young nobleman and two very different women: one his spiritual soulmate and the other, a beautiful heiress. As well known in China as “Romeo and Juliet” in the West, this book will have its world premiere as an opera with music by Bright Sheng and a libretto by David Henry Hwang and Sheng. It is commissioned by San Francisco Opera. On stage Sept. 1 – 29. Presently, it is only available as a package to season ticket holders. Individual tickets go on sale on June 27, 2016. 415-864-3330. Go to http://sfopera.com/discover-opera/201617-season/dream-of-the-red-chamber/.
Film & Media
Seattle Asian American Film Festival returns for another exciting mix of new feature films and shorts at Northwest Film Forum Feb. 19 – 21.
“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu”, a full length animated feature by Akiyuki Shimbou screens Feb. 27 – March 3. When a high school student hears rumors of a blonde vampire in town, the eventual encounter gives him more than he bargained for. Also in April, the theatre will screen 5 classic films by legendary avant-garde Japanese director Seijin Suzuki in collaboration with Northwest Film Forum. 1403 NE 50th St. in the University District. 206-523-3935.
The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, an annual event showcasing the best in Lesbian/Gay cinema world-wide has a name change. Now it is called “TWIST-Seattle Queer Film Festival”. It screens Oct. 13 – 23 later this year.
Other new films with dates not yet set for release but probably due by 2016 are the following – Jia Zhangke of all of China’s directors seems to have his pulse on a China evolving so quickly that its own people can barely keep up. “Mountains May Depart” is a dark portrait of a capitalist-era family through the decades as they struggle to survive in China and abroad. Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees” opened at Cannes and was picked up by Roadside/Lionsgate for distribution. The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe who meet on Mr. Fuji bent on suicide. Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s newest entitled “Journey to the Shore” has a piano teacher going on a second honeymoon with her missing husband who returns as a ghost. Adapted from the novel by Kazumi Yumoto Stars Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano. Due out next year is the long-awaited new project by Martin Scorsese in which he adapts Shusaku Endo’s historical novel on Christians in Japan in a period when Christianity was not allowed. A priest played by Andrew Garfield travels to Japan to confront rumors that his mentor has abandoned the church. Shot on location in Taiwan. The director remarked that “The subject matter presented by Endo was in my life since I was very, very young.” Kazuhiro Soda’s 21/2 hour documentary entitled “Oyster Factory” was a Locarno Film Festival Official Selection and takes a close look as globalization comes to a small Japanese village whose sole industry is the harvesting of oysters. July Jung’s “A Girl at My Door” played the Cannes Film Festival and has received numerous awards on the festival circuit. Donna Bae plays a police officer removed from her post in Seoul following a sex-related scandal. She is re-assigned to a remote seaside town until the controversy dies down. The quiet town is struggling economically and run by an exploitive owner of the local fishing industry. When the police officer assists his shy stepdaughter who is being bullied at school and abused at home, things began to erupt. “The Boy and the Beast” is a new animated feature directed by Mamoru Hosoda with Koji Yokusho voicing the main character. The story concerns a young orphan living on the streets who is taken in by a warrior beast. Gradually the two become like father and son but their bond is put to the test when trouble looms. This film will be released in February. A documentary film with the working titled of “Honokaa Hero: The Story of Katsu Goto” is busy trying to raise funds to complete production. Goto was an early Japanese immigrant who came to Hawai’i in 1885. He worked as a laborer along the Hamakua coast of Hawai’i island and then became a successful businessman and labor leader. He was lynched and killed in Honoka’a in 1889 while helping Japanese sugar plantation workers. Project Lead and Executive Producer is Patsy Iwasaki. For a preview of this film, go to http://katsugotomovie.org/2015/05/14/short-six-minute-preview-of-katsu-goto-movie-released/. Go to www.katsugotomovie.org for details.
Although there are a number of Asian American animators working for Pixar studios, “Sanjay’s Superhero”, a new short by Sanjay Patel qualifies as the first film by an Asian American from Pixar. Patel says he grew up hating his parent’s Hindi culture and just wanted to fit in. While his father sat in the living room in meditation to his God, the son sat enthralled by his Gods, the TV cartoon superheroes of his youth. The film is an appreciation of his parent’s culture and his own identity. It will show alongside the Pixar feature length film “The Good Dinosaur”.
Feature-length animation film director Isao Takahata of the famed Ghibli Studios in Tokyo has won the Winsor McCay Award for his career contribution to animation as announced by the International Animated Film Society in Hollywood. Takahata, now 80, is known as the director of such films as “Hotaru no Haka” (Grave of the Fireflies) and Kaguyahime no Monogatari” (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) which was nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. An earlier Takahata film that has never been seen in the U.S. is the 1991 production of “Only Yesterday.” The film revolves around a 27 year old woman who while on a trip to the countryside to work, reflects on memories of herself as a schoolgirl. It will be released later this year in a new English dubbed version featuring the voices of Daisy Ridley and Dev Patel. See it soon at SIFF Uptown.
“Brahmin Bulls” is a VOD release coming up on Jan. 19. Directed by Mahesh Pailoor, the film tells the story of an Indian American young man and his estranged father who reconnect amid the architecture of Los Angeles. It stars Roshan Seth, Mary Steenburgen, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Justin Bartha. Though the story revolves around Indian characters, it deals with universal themes of family and forgiveness without relying on stereotypes. The script was written by LA-based writers Pailoor and Anu Pradhan. Pailoor comments that “the goal was to tell an American story that had a multi-cultural cast. Although the lead characters are Indian American, their Indian heritage adds a specificity to their respective characters, but it doesn’t define their central conflict.” Available now via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and other VOD channels.
The Written Arts
Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale For the Time Being”, a best-selling novel about the connection between a writer on an island off Canada and a teenage Japanese girl play out in an across-the-sea communication in a post-tsunami world. This book is the 2016 Book Selection of Whatcom Reads, a county-wide program that encourages everyone to read and discuss the same book. It is organized by all the public and academic libraries in Whatcom County and community partner, Village Books. Ms. Ozeki will participate in various readings, workshops and lectures from March 3 – 6. To find out the complete schedule, go to whatcomereads.org or the link, http://www.ruthozeki.com/events/2016/3/3whatcom-reads.
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise. Shawna Yang Ryan, author of the best-selling novel “Water Ghosts” that exhumed the Chinese immigrant history of the Sacramento delta community of Locke returns to the bookstore to read from a new novel set in Taiwan’s martial law era entitled “Green Island” (Knopf). Wed., Feb. 24 at 7pm. On Sat., Feb. 27 join authors Suki Kim, Tracy Kidder, Sam Quinones and many others for the “Search For Meaning Book Festival” which takes place from 9am – 5pm at Seattle University. This book festival has over 50 authors speaking about issues having to do with spirituality and social justice. Some other speakers are Bharti Kirchner, Deborah Jian Lee, and Sunil Yapan. Signings and pop up bookstores from Elliott Bay and Seattle University Bookstore are also part of the experience. Tickets are $10 and a complete schedule can be found at www.seattleu.edu/searchformeaning. Journalist and novelist Suki Kim (in town for the “Search For Meaning Book Festival”) also reads at Elliott Bay on Sun., Feb. 28 at 3pm. She reads from “Without You, There Is No Us” (in a new paperback edition on Broadway Books), her account of teaching the future leaders of North Korea at a North Korean University funded by Evangelical Christians from the West. Kim is also the author of the novel, “The Interpreter”. Sri Lankan writer Nayomi Munaweer reads from her new novel “What Lies Between Us” (St. Martins) about a mother and daughter fleeing the war at home only to find unresolved personal conflicts in exile. Thurs., March 3 at 7pm. On Thurs., March 8 at 7pm, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner read from their book, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War” (Univ. of Mass. Press), a book that shows how music mirrored the consciousness of our G.I’s and the upheavels of the campaign to win hearts and minds. TV food show celebrity Padma Lakshmi get more personal about food in her memoir entitled “In Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir” (Ecco) when she speaks at Town Hall Seattle on Mon., March 14 at 7:30pm. 1119 Eighth Ave. at Seneca. (206) 652-4255 or go to www.townhallseattle.org. A joint presentation of Town Hall and the bookstore. Leland Cheuk reads from “The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong” (CCLaP) on Fri. March 18 at 7pm. This satiric novel is a poke at stereotypes of the Asian American male. He shares the bill with novelist Kris Saknussenum. “The Story of Hoa Sen” (BOA) is the latest book of poems translated into English by Bruce Wiegl by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, one of Vietnam’s most beloved poets. Co-presented with Hugo House and the Gardner Center for Asian Art & Ideas on Mon., March 28 at 7pm at Hugo House. Free. 1634 – 11th Ave. On wed., March 30 at 7pm, Nalini Iyer will talk to local author Bharti Kirchner about her new book entitled “Goddess of Fire: A Historical Novel Set in 17th Century India”. Co-presented with Washington Center For the Book at Seattle Public Library. This reading takes place at Seattle Public Central Library downtown. 206-386-4636 or go to www.spl.org. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
As part of Seattle Science Lectures, the University Book Store & Town Hall co-present author Sonia Shah talking about her new book entitled “Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond (Sarah Crichton Books) on Mon., Feb. 29 at 7:30pm. At Town Hall Seattle at 1119 – 8th Ave. Go to ubookstore.com/events for more details.
Those book lovers with burning, seemingly unanswerable questions need not consult Dear Abby any longer – now there’s Hugo House’s program “Ask the Oracle” where a panel of writers will light the proverbial path using passages from their respective books. Beginning in February and continuing monthly, Hugo House, Seattle’s place for writers, will partner with Hotel Sorrento to present this series taking place in the hotel’s cozy Hunt Club fireside room. Participating writers include Imani Sims, Ramon Isao, Sonora Jha, Jane Wong and many others. Dates include March 1, April 5, May 10 and June 6 all at 7pm. For details, contact Kristen Steenbeeke at [email protected]. In related news, Hugo House has announced its temporary re-location during construction of its new building across from Cal Anderson Park. Beginning in mid-2016, Hugo House’s public programs and offices will be based in a building owned by, and adjacent to, the Frye Art museum at Boren Avenue and Columbia Street on First Hill. Hugo House will operate a full schedule of readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, and more at the Frye while its new building is being constructed. Events will take place here and in the Frye’s auditorium as well at the nearby Elliott Bay Book Company and Sorrento Hotel. By 2018, Hugo House will return to its original site and occupy a ground-floor space in a new six-story, mixed-use building. In related news, Hugo House has produced “The Writer’s Welcome Kit”, an exclusive e-course that combines guidance on the writing craft and resources to help the writer excel. Go to hugohouse.org for details.
WordsWest presents award-winning poet and PLU Professor Oliver de la Paz and Seattle’s first civic poet Claudia Castro Luna in a reading on March 16 at 7pm. This is an exciting literary series that presents local writers in West Seattle. Readings take place at C & P Coffee Co. located at 5612 California Ave. S.W. For details, email [email protected].
In the 20th edition of the Jack Straw Writers, Curator Karen Finneyfrock has made her final 12 selections from over 100 submissions. Ramon Isao, EJ Koh, Shin Yu Pai are some of the writers who form the 2016 Jack Straw writers. Be on the lookout for a series of readings by these fine writers throughout the year. For details, go to [email protected].
Actor Dustin Nguyen of “Descender” fame is just one of the many guest stars at the Emerald City Comicon, the premier comic book and pop culture convention in the Northwest. April 7 – 10 at Washington State Convention Center. Go to emeraldcitycomicon.com for tickets and information.
Seattle Arts & Lectures has added a talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning medical author Siddhartha Mukherjee (“The Emperor of All Maladies”) on May 23. He will be talking about his new book entitled “The Gene: An Intimate History”. Go to lectures.org for more details.
“Elmer Ogawa: After Hours with Seattle’s Forgotten Photographer” is a new book by journalist Todd Matthews about a man who worked part-time on assignment as the photographer for Pacific Citizen and SCENE Magazine. His photos capture life in the Japanese American community at social events. More information can be found at http://www.wahmee.com/elmer.html.
The Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress have announced the appointment of Gene Luen Yang, Printz Award winner and two-time National Book Award finalist, as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Yang will travel nationwide over the course of his two-year term promoting his platform, “Reading Without Walls,” showing kids and teens that reading is a vital part of their lives, and speaking to parents, teachers, librarians – everyone invested in young people’s literacy – about how better to connect with kids and teens and help them love reading. Yang is the author of the graphic novels, “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers & Saints”. To learn more about him, go to geneyang.com.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling –
“Court Paintings from the Joseon Dynasty” (Seoul Selection) by Park Jeong-Hye is a new book that introduces readers to the fascinating world of Korean artists and artisans who did detailed work on folding screens, murals, paper sliding doors and government records.
Chef, nutritionist and cooking instructor Karen Wang Diggs brings a wealth of food knowledge, village wisdeom and secrets to healthy living from her travels and the hard science of nuitrition in her new book entitled “Happy Foods” (Viva Editions).
“Why Ghosts Appear” (Chin Music Press) is another beautifully designed thriller/mystery novel by Todd Shimoda with artwork by LJC Shimoda. In this story a fortune teller asks a detective to find her missing son.
“Roads of Oku – Journeys in the Heatland” (Far Roads) by Dennis Kawaharada traces the Hawai’i-based writer’s own personal journey in his ancestral heartland of Japan. Accounts of Hawaiian history and Japanese religion, customs, geography and archaeology fill the accounts of his travels.
Kyung-Sook Shin’s ”Please Look After Mom” was a New York Times bestseller. Now she’s back with a new novel entitled “The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness” (Pegasus Books). Korea’s industrial sweatshops of the 1970’s catapulted that South Korea into a global economy. Shin tells that story through the eyes of a young girl from the countryside working in the factories under conditions of exploitation, oppression and urbanization.
As more and more citizens flee North Korea, more and more memoirs are published telling their stories. “Stars Between The Sun And Moon – One Woman’s Life OIn North Korea And Escape To Freedom” (Norton) by Lucia Jang and Susan McClelland is the latest.
“Art Place Japan – The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature” (Princeton Architectural Press) by Fram Kitagawa as translated by Amiko Matsuo and Brad Monsma tells the remarkable story of a rural farming region in Niigata that now thrives under an arts festival that combines art, ecology and community participation. Individual artists and cultural organizations from around the world come to the area every three years to transform it into a large-scale art installation. Penned by the director of this art event.
Few people know of the Indian participation in World War II and Raghu Karnad tells that personal story by uncovering stories of his family who served in “Farthest Field – An Indian Story of the Second World War” (Norton).
“The Hundred Year Flood” (Little A Books) by Matthew Salesses is a striking debut novel about a lost soul, a Korean adoptee trying to find his place in the world while living abroad in Prague.
“I Am China” (Anchor Books) by Xiaolu Guo tells the story of a Chinese rock musician, his British translator, his poet lover and how he ends up in exile in England seeking political asylum.
“Last Boat To Yokohama – The Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon” (Three Rooms Press) by Nassrine Azimi & Michel Wasserman tells the amazing tale of a remarkable woman who secretly helped create Japan’s new constitution after WW II, writing an article that mandated equal rights for all women in Japan. This article was the work of a 22-year-old Vienna-born, naturalized American woman of Ukranian-Jewish descent who had grown up in Japan.
“The Investigation” (Pegasus Books) is a novel by J. M. Lee translated by Chi-Young Kim that tells the story of Japan’s wartime history, inspired by the real-life case of jailed dissident Korean poet Yun Dong-Ju.
“The Incarnations” (Touchstone) is a new novel by Susan Barker that traces the existence of a Beijing cabbie during the summer Olympics who keeps finding letters from a stranger in his cab that takes him on a journey through Chinese history from the Ming dynasty to the Opium War and the Cultural Revolution. Forgotten characters of his country’s history and folklore float before his eyes. Barker had a British father and Chinese Malaysian mother. She lived in Beijing during the country’s preparation for the Olympics.
Adrian Tomine has been telling stories in his comic format since he was a teenager with the ‘zine, “Optic Nerve”. Of late his work has been featured prominently in the New Yorker. His latest book entitled “Killing And Dying” (Drawn & Quarterly) with no great fanfare simply zeroes in on the hole of the American heart and dwells there with incisive, stark portrayals of different Americans just trying to get through their lives day by day. Tender, heartbreaking and real. Catch him live at Portland’s Wordstock Festival on Nov. 6 & 7.
“The Good Immigrants – how the YELLOW PERIL became the MODEL MINORITY” (Princeton) by Madeline Y. Hsu looks at how American political narratives from earliest times to the Cold War changed immigration policy and made Chinese immigrants a ‘model minority’.
Akhil Sharma’s novel “Family Life” (Norton) about an immigrant family torn asunder by duty and the need for survival made the “10 Best Books” list of 2014 in the New York Times Book Review. Now it has come out in a new paperback edition.
“Keywords For Asian Americans” (NYU) is a collection of essays edited by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Linda Trinh Vo, and K. Scott Wong. Looks like a key reference book for Asian American Studies.
“Gasa Gasa Girl Goes To Camp – A Nisei Youth behind a World War II Fence” (Univ. of Utah) by Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey uses a sophisticated collage of artwork, prose and photographs a candid memoir of the camp experience through the eyes of a young girl.
Dao Strom returns with a double format presentation that shows off her writing chops and music in one package. “We Were Meant to be Gentle People” is a poetic memoir that charts a life experienced across oceans and continents in fragments of memory, image and history. The book is combined with a music cd entitled “East/West” with “chapters” in the book corresponding to song titles and lyrics interwoven amid the essays and fragments. The book is available through amazon, Ingram and various independent booksellers. The cd in both digital download and CD format via cdbaby.com or daostrom.bandcamp.com and iTunes. You can get the dual format of Cd + book via the author’s own website. Go to paperdollworks.com for details.
“Ocean of Bitter Dreams – The Chinese Migration to America 1850 – 1915” by Robert J. Swendinger has been reprinted on China Books.
“Taken from the Paradise Isle – The Hoshida Family Story” (Colorado) Edited by Heidi Kim with a foreword by Franklin Odo tells the story of artist George Hoshida and his efforts to keep his family intact during desperate times.
Bamboo Ridge Press, the publishing organ of a dedicated group of Island writers in Hawai’i keeps chugging along. The latest issue of the magazine (#106) is just out ci-edited by Gail Harada and Lisa Linn Kanae. Also due out by December is “Between Sky And Sea”, a new novel by D. Carreira Ching. For details, visit www.bambooridge.com.
The University of Washington continues to revamp its Asian American literary classics with new cover art and new introductions by scholars in the field. The latest to get this upgrade is Bienvenido N. Santos’ “Scent of Apples”, a beautifully crafted series of short stories that tell the stories of those early Filipino immigrants who came to this country to build a new life and the hardships they found. With a foreword by Jessica Hagedorn and a new introduction by Allan Punzalan Isaac.
From “Chutzpah!” hailed as one of China’s most innovative literary magazines comes an anthology entitled “CHUTZPAH! – New Voices From China” (University of Oklahoma Press) edited by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner. Includes sixteen selections that take readers from the suburbs of Nanjing to the mountains of Xinjiang Province, from London’s Chinatown to a universe seemingly springing from a video game.
Rohini Mohan looks at three lives caught up in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s twenty-year civil war as even today ethnic and religious conflicts continue to run rampant in “The Seasons of Trouble – Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” (Verso). This debut book stems from the author’s extensive, award-winning career as a political journalist covering Sri Lankan politics and the personal lives of its citizens.
“Chord”(Sarabande) is a new book of poems by Pacific Lutheran University Professor Rick Barot that looks at the limits of representational art and language in a carefully crafted series of poems that show the limits of our human condition and the threads that bind us together.
Luo Ying went through the experience of the Cultural Revolution in China and in “Memories of the Cultural Revolution” (University of Oklahoma Press) as translated by Seattle poet/translator Denis Mair, this memoir in verse brings to light with devastating clarity those defining moments of a young life in turmoil.
Pilchuck Glass School offers the John H. Hauberg Fellowship to encourage collaboration among a group of outstanding artists. Groups of up to six are invited to submit proposals for utilizing the studios and campus environment for research and development of artwork based on a common theme or a collaborative project. Residency dates are April 27 – May 13, 2016 and applications are due Oct. 26, 2016. Visit Pilchuck.com for application and instructions. If you have further questions, contact the registrar at [email protected] or call 360-445-3111, ext 29.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438. Their latest newsletter is a tasty and informative look at Asian cuisine. Check it out by going to http://friendsofasianart.org. Also the organization’s upcoming fundraiser will be an “Asian And Global Arts Treasures Sale” on Sat., April 9 from 11am – 3pm at Phinney Neighborhood Center’s Community Hall. Find unique treasures of antiques, artifacts and craft items from Asia, Central/South America and Africa. Purchases via cash or check only. 6532 Phinney Ave. N. north of woodland Park Zoo. For details, go to [email protected]. Those who wish to participate in this event as a vendor and have questions can email Vendor Chair Ron Ho at [email protected].
Ken Matsudaira seeks ghost stories but not just any ghost stories. Let me have him tell you. Minidoka Ghost Stories is an oral history of ghost stories from the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and is an opportunity to hear and to share a unique aspect of the internment experience. The stories of ghosts, hauntings, and the strange not only provide an alternative inroad to Japanese American history, but also, in the analysis of their telling, provides insights into our culture, our values, and our legacy. Though Minidoka is specified in the project’s title, we are interested in hearing stories associated with ANY of the camps.
We are losing the generation of internees who were adults during the war. With their passing goes our access to a grown-up’s perspective of the internment. Fortunately, projects like Densho have been preserving many of their stories for future generations. What has been missing, however, is a look at how children created meaning out of their experience. For Minidoka Ghost Stories, I am seeking stories from Nikkei who were children during the war and who may have been too young to grasp the complexity of what was going on at the time, but who may easily be able to remember the things that scared them. I see Minidoka Ghost Stories as a unique access point to our history. I hope to give people a novel way of entering into dialogue about the larger Internment Experience through which they can connect with the history in unexpected ways.
I am hoping that inquiries about ghost stories can provide a playful. “less heavy” way for younger Nikkei to begin conversations with camp survivors, providing a way to encourage storytelling in general between generations. This, in fact, is the underlying “secret” goal of the project: fostering inter-generational communication and sharing. I hope that Minidoka ghost Stories will become an undertaking that is adopted by the community at large, inspiring Sansei, Yonsei and Gosei to ask their grandparents, parents, and relatives for stories about the internment in a way that has the possibility of bypassing decades of reluctance. It is my hope that Minidoka Ghost Stories inspires families to share stories and that it will provide a rich, inter-generational site of inquiry providing insights into how, collectively and individually, we have made meaning out of our experiences and storytelling.
Any stories can be passed on to me via the project’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Minidoka-Ghost-Stories-847637862019226/ or the project’s email: [email protected]