Visual Arts


Advance warning – Noted architect/sculptor/installation artist Maya Lin who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. will give a talk as part of the “SAM TALKS” series on June 29th at Seattle Art Museum. Go to and look for “tickets”.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. has just opened a major retrospective on the work of American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi entitled “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi” which will be on view through August 30th, 2015. Kuniyoshi was an American modernist who taught for years at the Art Students League in New York. His work ranges from the subtle to sophisticated with traces of deadpan humor to deep tragedy. Kuniyoshi’s first arrival in the U.S. was in Seattle where he worked on the railroads as a teenager eventually making his way to New York.  8th and  F Streets NW. Go to for details.

Currently on view until May 16th is a group show entitled “Scissors + Paper – Lauren Iida, Ann Leda Shapiro and Alisa Lahti”. Coming in June is the Gallery’s “20th Anniversary Show” featuring work by gallery artists.  ArtXchange Gallery at 512  1st Ave. S.

“HAKONIWA Project – to touch & to be touched” is a new show by artist Etsuko Ichikawa which explores the notion of not only a boxed garden but  Sandplay therapy developed by Koa Kalff, a Jungian therapist. The artist explores the personal significance that hands play in our lives and our interactions with others. In this exhibit, narrow sandboxes are placed in the middle of the gallery and miniature hand figures are displayed on shelves on the walls. Visitors are encouraged to take the hand figures displayed and  bring them to the sandbox to arrange. On view through June 14th.  A group show from the permanent collection entitled “Study In Green” features the work of Boyd Sugiki and other Northwest artists. On view also  through June 14th. Museum of Northwest Art at 121 South First St. in  La Connor, WA. (360) 466-4446 or go to for details.

The group show of “Contemporary Japanese Printmakers is being held over through May 30th with new work on exhibition. New this month is a show entitled “Unmentionables”  is a show by South Korean printmaker Sohee Kim up until May 30th.. There is a whimsy and at times, a dark humor at play here as she looks at the objects that humans fill their lives with and the objectification of humans as they go about their day to day activities. Chinese woodcut artist Zha Sai lives in Hubei Province surrounded by water and trees which provide inspiration  for her finely detailed work. Opens June 2nd and remains on view until June 27th.  Davidson Galleries in Pioneer Square. 313 Occidental Ave. S. (206) 624-1324 for details.

Aaliyah Gupta shows abstract compositions April 29th – May 30th.  Gallery party with the artist on Sat., May 23rd from 4 – 6:30pm. CORE Gallery. 117 Prefontaine Place S. (206) 467-4444 or go to Open Wed. – Sat.

The work of April Higashi is included in a group show entitled “So Fine” which highlights works by nine contemporary jewelry artists who push the boundaries of what we know conventionally as jewelry with their experimentation. April 22nd – May 12th. Facere Jewelry Art Gallery at 420 Fifth Ave., Suite 108.  (206) 624-6768 or go to Open Mon. – Sat.

The whimsical, funky charm of Saya Moriyasu’s ceramic installations will be on display in a show of new work entitled “Parlour” at G. Gibson Gallery April 24th – June 6th.   Open Wed. – Sat. from 11am – 5pm and Tues. by appointment. The artist will be at the gallery during  “First Thursdays” on  June 4th from 6 – 8pm. Coming to the gallery June 19th – August 15th is a group show entitled “DWELL” which includes drawing, painting and photography of architectural themes. The work of Thuy-van Vu is included in this show. 303 South Washington St. (206) 587-4033 or go to Also Saya Moriyasu has a ceramic piece originally commissioned by Safeco that depicts the artist’s house with 2 apple trees and 2 cats in the show “Magic Windows/ Framing Place” up until May 17th, 2015 at Whatcom Museum. The piece is now part of the museum’s collection. 121 Prospect St. in Bellingham.

“Woven Woods” is the title of a show by local Japanese artist Naoko Morisawa. She uses hundreds of slices of natural and oil- dyed wood chips on board to create an unusual mosaic/textural feel. Through July 14th.  Ethnic Heritage Gallery at Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave. on the third floor. (206) 684-7132. Go to for details. Open Mon. – Fri.

The artwork of Seattle artist Ken Taya (ENFU) adorns two new traffic control boxes at the corner of 6th and Jackson. The boxes were created to draw attention to the Japantown area of the neighborhood.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL  named Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as a recipient of their Ambassador of Conscience Award which recognizes lifetime human-rights leadership. The other award went to folksinger Joan Baez.

“Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali’I” presents the first exhibition of Hawaiian featherwork on the U.S. mainland developed in partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Around 75 rare and stunning examples of the finest featherwork capes and cloaks in existence will be shown as well as royal staffs of feathers, feather lei, helmets, feathered god images and related paintings and works on paper. Opens August 29th, 2015 and remains on view through Feb. 28th, 2016.

Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori  has been traveling. A solo show entitled “Eros” in Switzerland and residencies where he worked out his skills in printmaking/drawing. So let’s see what new work he has produced since his UW retirement. In  “The Beginning of Everything” (see related story elsewhere in this issue), the artist expands his visual vocabulary with stonewaresculpture of figures and landscapes as well as a series of prints tha delve into the “belly” of the artist’s mind. James Harris Gallery set for May 14th – June 20th.  604 Second Ave. (206) 903-6220 or go to for details. Open Wed. – Sat.  Takamori was also a recipient of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum  which will give him a show which runs from Oct. 2015 – Jan. 16th, 2016.

L.A. based sound and installation artist Joel Ong installs a piece entitled “Tuning Calibration of Tonal Awareness II” which is based on the theme of analog-digital exchanges, consisting of a grid of electronic string resonators triggered by Seattle wind data. Opening reception is Thurs., May 21st at 7pm. Artist talk on Fri., June 19th at 7pm. On view May 21st – July 2nd. Jack Straw New Media Gallery at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. (206)634-0919 or go to

The 2011 Japanese earthquake devastate the historic Japanese pottery town of Mashiko but it did not destroy the spirit of the potters. The Portland Japanese Garden brings the work of 13 Mashiko masters to a show entitled “Kizuna (translated as ‘the bonds between people’): The Rebirth of Mashiko Ceramics” set to open June 6th and remain on view through July 5, 2015.  Work by contemporary potters range from traditional craft to contemporary art. Also featured are works by former Living Treasure artists Shoji Hamada and his protégé, Tatsuzo Shimaoka. To celebrate the exhibition opening, Kei Shimaoka, the grandson of Tatsuzo will lead artist demonstrations at the Pavillion from 1 – 3pm on June 6th. 611 SW Kingston Ave. in Portland. Exhibition is included with Garden admission. Open 10am to 7pm daily except for  Mondays when it opens at noon. (503) 223-1321 or go to

The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual  expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th,   2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to for details.

“Ikko Style: The Graphic Art of Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002)” looks at how this internationally known Japanese designer’s ideas were visualized and transmitted to a broader audience.  A must-see show for graphic designers and all art viewers interested in the beauty and power of graphic art. Through August 2nd, 2015 at USC Pacific Art Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Go to

Congratulations to conceptual installation artist Mel Chin who nabbed a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Fine Arts.

New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following –  “CONSTRUCT/S” is a new 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 a temporary public art installation downtown sponsored by the then Seattle Arts Commission. 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. The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander  immigration . This exhibit which  opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “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.  “BOJAGI: Unwrapping Korean American Identities”, a new show on our local Korean American community opened Nov. 13th and remains on view through the spring of 2015. A new exhibit entitled “Puppet Power! Asian Traditions Come to Life” opened on July 19th. See innovative creations from Asian American puppet artists, video performances and hands-on puppet play. Created in partnership with the Northwest Puppet Center and the Valentinetti Puppet Museum.  Family Fun Day features  local author Ken Mochizuki and Midori Kono Thiel’s art workshop on Sat. May 9th from 11am – 4pm. 719  South King St. (206) 623-5124 or  visit 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.

Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park –  First Free Saturday family activity takes place  from 11am – 2pm. “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World” looks at the work of this pivotal member of the Japanese  neo-pop art movement whose work merges the sweetness of kawaii culture with the cloudy future of a post-apocalyptic world. Includes photography, drawing and an animated video installation. Opens May 2nd and remains on view through Oct. 4th. “Calligraphic Abstraction” is a group show exploring the world of calligraphy  in all its’ various forms of beauty from a Mark Tobey painting to Islamic, Chinese and Japanese examples.  Opens May 9th and continues on view until October 4th in the Tateuchi Galleries. Dr. Alice Hunsberger introduces the work of Persian poet and philosopher Nasir Khusraw who traveled through 11th century Central Asia and the Middle East. Persian musical interludes performed by Ali Ghaemmaghami and Peyman Marandiz. Sun., May 31st at 3:30pm.  Chinese Calligraphy workshops will be taught by Visiting Artist and art historian Dr. Lu Rong on June 18th & 25th and July 2nd & 29th from 6:30 – 8:30pm.  Alvord Board Room of Seattle Asian Art Museum.Tickets include all required materials.  Hurry as tickets are going fast. For complete information on all events, go to

An intriguing new group exhibit of  Australian aboriginal artists whose canvases mesmerize you with their density of pattern and the importance of the water hole in Aboriginal culture.  On view  through July 6th, 2015.  “Conversations with Curators” series presented for SAM members only presents a talk entitled “Monet by the Sea: Fishing Boats at Etretat” by Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. May 20th with Happy Hour at 6pm and the lecture at 7pm. Visit or call (206) 654-3100.

“Black Box 2.0 Festival” (sponsored by Aktions Art) is the second edition of Seattle’s first international art, film and technology festival with over sixty artists exhibited in eight locations throughout the city. The work of Stockholm-based American artist Lisa Tan is featured. May 6th – June 7th.  Black Box is free but tickets are required.  Go to or [email protected] for details.

Tacoma Art Museum has opened a new wing to accommodate the gift of a new collection. “ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum just opened. Included in the present show is work by contemporary Chinese American artist Mian Situ. He creates epic paintings in the European tradition but inserts Chinese American immigrants as protagonists in scenes in which they’ve previously been missing. “Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians: Matika Wilbur’s Project 562” is the first installment of Matika Wilbur’s ambitious project to capture contemporary Native American life by documenting people from all 562 federally recognized tribes in the US.  The photography of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang is included in a group show entitled “Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots”. This show explores the distinct identity of Northwest art and how it has adopted, adapted and reacted against its western roots. A theme particularly apt and timely since the museum is building a new wing to house their new collection of Western art.  Both shows through  the fall of 2015. Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to

“Elements” is a group show that explores aspects of the physical world we live in. Includes work by Alice Chew, David Ko,   Jim Kurhihara and others. Now on view during winter at University House Wallingford at 4400 Stone Way North in Seattle. Curated by June Sekiguchi. (206) 545-8400.

The work of Koji Kubota and Junko Yamamoto is included in a group show entitled “The Moon Is Free” which highlights work with primary colors and playful shapes. May 7th – June 27th. ArtsWest Gallery. 4711 California Ave. SW in West Seattle. Thurs. – Sat. (206) 938-0339 or go to

The Asian Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma presents a “Meet The Artist” event with Maggie Ho on Sat., May 23rd from 2 – 4pm. 4851 South Tacoma
Way in Tacoma. (253) 383-3900.

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. “Sakura Sakura” is a new show of photography by Motoya Nakamura on the theme of cherry blossoms as photographed and filmed in video around Portland.  On view until June 14th.  Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].

The Museum of Contemporary  Craft. Upcoming April 17th – August 16th in 2015 is “The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific NW”. 724 NW Davis St. in Portland. (503) 223-2654 or go to

“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.

UW Henry Art Gallery has the following – “Viewpoints: Hiroshi Sugimoto” is a show of work by New York-based Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto on view May 10th – July 26th. The “University Of Washington 2015 MFA + MDES Thesis Exhibition includes work by Scott Ichikawa, Zheng (Victor) Wu, Lanxia (Summer) Wu and Kun Xu. On view May 23rd – June 21st. In conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery’s current exhibitions, the museum presents a series entitled “ARTBREAKS” in which artists, scholars, and community members present different ways to think about and relate to the materials and ideas in the art on view.  On Sat., May 30th at   2:30pm, Seattle commercial and fine art photographer Megumi Arai will speak.  Painting + Drawing UW MFA student Lanxia (Summer) Xie will talk about her work on Sat., June 6th at 2:30pm.All events take place at the Henry unless otherwise noted. Visit for tickets and more information.

“Hand and Wheel – Contemporary Japanese Clay” looks at the long-standing ceramic tradition in Japan and surveys the work of modern ceramic artists working from the traditional to the contemporary. Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Maribeth Graybill, Ph.D., The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art. On view through June 21, 2015. 1219 S.W. Park Ave. (503) 226-2811.

KOBO Gallery at Higo in Japantown/International District always has interesting shows of new ceramic work or work that conveys an Asian aesthetic. Go to for updates. 604 S. Jackson St. (206) 381-3000.

“Conceal/Reveal: Making Meaning in Chinese Art” is a show that features a collection of Chinese Art curated with the intent of drawing a thematic line of “layered meaning” between all pieces.  On  view through June 21st, 2015. 1400 E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. (206) 654-3100 or go to

Curator/sculptor/installation artist June Sekiguchi unleashes a whirlwind of activity by showing the fruits of her creative labors in various guises/projects/exhibitions and we are the richer for it. “Taki” (waterfall in Japanese) is a site specific piece to be permanently placed in the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery of Seattle Municipal Tower inspired by the famous woodblock print by Hokusai entitled “A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces”. 700 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle on the 6th floor. This piece can be seen from Oct. 23rd, 2014 on along with other pieces by Marita Dingus, Humaira Abid and Gustavo  Martinez as curated by Preston Hampton. Finally Sekiguchi will be involved in a group show entitled “The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human” which intends to examine the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness. A variety of people, from mental health advocates to community leaders/organizations will come together to speak about mental illness and its effects on our society.  Sekiguchi’s son, Quin Breeland has created QR code links to the artists’ works and will have an audio/visual experiential multi-media piece. Tours by artists paired with mental health professionals are scheduled throughout the exhibition. At Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave. in the 4th floor lobby and  Anne Focke Gallery. Sekiguchi also continues curating shows for Era Living. “First Impressions” is a group show of printmaking at Aljoya on Mercer Island at 2430 76th Ave. S.E. Opening with wine and snacks on Sat., May 9th from 11:30 – 3:30pm. “Face Valiue: The Art of Portraiture” at the Lakeshore at 11448 Rainier Ave. S. Opening with wine, snacks and music on wed., May 20th 4:30 – 6:30pm RSVP by May 18th. (206) 772-1200. “Environmental Art” at Ida Culver House Broadview. Wine, snacks & music at opening on May 21st from 4 – 6pm. RSVP by May 18th by calling (206) 361-1989. 12505 Greenwood Ave. N.

Seattle photographer/educator Carina del Rosario has the following events now up or upcoming.  Starting from March 2015, a selection from Carina’s “Passport Series” will be included in Wing Luke Museum’s upcoming post-1965 Immigration Act exhibition. For complete details on all these events, contact the artist direct at  [email protected].

When does an Airbnb become an artistic work in progress you might ask? Well, when local artists like Rob Rhee and Dawn Cerny come into the picture and think about ways a living space can also reflect artistic choice. Now through the end of May,  “Xenia” ( a Greek term for hospitality) as the project is called can be rented for a visitor’s stay at $100 a night. Got someone from out of town who also enjoys the puzzle of art, even in a space in which they may temporarily reside? This may be the home for them. The first thing one notices is that the living room looks like funky basic “Ikea” subverted by artistic ninjas overnight. The table made by sculptor Rhee has dreams and visions as pinned on the wall. On the same table sit a number of books with personal notes from a local artist’s personal collection describing in detail how each book fits into his vision of the Northwest. Against the wall sits a brown-stained ceramic cube. Rhee explains that it’s from an artist friend of his who philosophizes on the man-made material of the brick and how it can be used for building or tossing through a window. Stacks of folders by the artist sit by the piece explaining his approach. In the kitchen, Rhee points out the plates and mugs in the cupboard formed from a fragile gray clay. He says the slights stains in the cups mark their use by past guests, a barometer or footprint of previous use. In the bedroom, headphones line the wall but instead of the usual ear pads, one finds seashells designed to give you the sound of the sea as the music of choice to lull you to sleep. Above the headboard of the bed sits a painting of an ear. Rhee, a transplanted New Yorker and teacher at Cornish College of the Arts hopes that the space dissolves the lines between form, function and art – not as just a living space with art on the wall but a place that you can slow down and interactive with art in ways more intimate than say, a gallery or museum. For the artistic Sherlock Holmes in your life, think “Xenia”. If interested in renting this space, Rob Rhee can be reached at [email protected].

Local artist Etsuko Ichikawa  has a new solo show entitled “Act of Drawing” at Michael Warren Contemporary, a gallery in Denver from  May 12th – June 13th. A short film demonstrating her process of making Glass Pyrographs is part of the exhibit. The artist will attend the opening reception on May 15th from 6 – 9pm and also give a short presentation. 760 Santa Fe Dr. in Denver, Colorado. For details, email [email protected] or call (303) 635-6255.

The work of Paul Horiuchi is included in a group show entitled “55th Annual Anniversary Group Exhibition”  from April 10th – May 23rd at Woodside/Braseth Gallery at 1201 Western Ave. (206) 622-7243 or go to Open Tues. – Sat.

On view till June 7, 2015 is “Elegance & Nobility: Modern & Contemporary Korean Literati Taste”. And finally “Vistas of a World Beyond: Traditional Gardens in Chinese Material Culture” is on view until July 5, 2015.University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 1430 Johnson Lane in Eugene. (541) 346-3027 or visit

The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture must be one of the few small museums in the country devoted to Japanese art. Located in the farmlands around Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley, Clark is a dairy farmer. His interest in Japanese art was piqued as a child in the 6th grade when he saw a picture of a Japanese garden in a textbook and was mesmerized. A stint in the Navy while in Japan provided him with the opportunity to visit temples, farmhouses and gardens and he purchased his first Japanese art at that time. They expanded their home into a museum as the collection grew over the next 20 years. Their last exhibition entitled “Elegant Pastime: Masterpieces of Japanese Art from the Clark Collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts” closes June 30th. After that, the collection goes to Minneapolis and the center closes. The Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1-5pm for a small admission fee. 15770 – 10th Ave. (559) 582-4915.

New work by Seattle artist Diem Chau is on exhibit through Oct. 31st, 2015 at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of “Second Nature”, an array of artist installations that ell the stories of endangered species through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials. Her series of carved crayons “Precious Few” take the forms of 48 animals on the endangered species list. The zoo is at 3400 W. Girad Ave. in Philadelphia. Their phone # is (215) 243-1100. Diem Chau is represented locally by G. Gibson Gallery ( and she is open to commissions.

“Xu Bing: Writing Between Heaven And Earth” opens Feb. 21st and remains on view through May 24th . This epic installation is rarely exhibited in its entirety. The work challenges  viewer’s perceptions of cultural identity and language. Trained in China as a master printmaker, Bing grew up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution. A core tenet of his work is the preservation of Chinese culture and traditions. Chinese characters and traditional landscapes feature prominently in his work. Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at 10975 South 17th St.  in Miami, Florida. Go to or call (305) 910-7762.

“China Through The Looking Glass” is a new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through August 16th. It explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fuled the fasionable imagination for centuries. Organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Met’s Department of Asian Art. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to

Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following –  “In The Wake – Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11” on view April 5th – July 12th.  Also opening April 5th and remaining on view  until August 9th is  “Hokusai”, a show of prints by the great Japanese woodblock printer. “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show  that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view August 25th – January 10th, 2016.  465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300.

“Buddhist Art of Myanmar” continues on view until May 10th. “South and Southeast Asian Sculpture from the Asia Society Museum” remains on view until May 19th. Opening May 19th and on view until July 19th is “Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot; Works by New York City Students.” Comprised of students impressions of the Paik show they had seen at the Museum earlier. From June 9th – July 19th  is a show of video and photography from China. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to for details.

“After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997” is an ambitious group show that looks at the changing role of art in that country. Work by the Progessive Artists Group  by artists like M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, E. N. Souza produced in the wake of that country’s newly won independence in the late 40’s will be paired with contemporary examples by artists like Shilpa Gupta and Dayanita Singh. Opened on March 8th and remains on view through June 28th at the Queens Museum. Located in Queens, New York in the New York City Building, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. (718) 592-9700 or go to

For some reason, the state of Texas is bursting with new shows on Japanese art. The Museum of Fine Art in Houston has the following shows – “For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968 – 1979”  in the Beck Building at 5601 Main St. through July 18th and “Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens and Contemporary Ceramics from the Gitter-Yellen Collection” till May 10th at the Law Building at 1001 Bissonet st. (713) 639-7300. And in Dallas at the Dallas Art Museum you’ll find “Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga” up till July 19th. Both artists were members of the Gutai group, the leading avant-garde organization of post-war Japanese artists that incorporated performance into their art events. 1717 North  Harwood. (214) 922-1200.

In 1947, Britain partitioned India by religious belief creating Pakistan. More than a million people lost their lives during Partition as they were forced to move from ancestral homes to accommodate religious re-districting. Now, over 1,000 survivors of Partition have been interviewed on camera for the 1947 Partition Archive, a new museum dedicated to this event. It is quietly located on the upper floor of a bank building in downtown Berkeley, California. The 1947 Partition Archive founder is Guneeta Singh Bhalla. It is seen as a race against time as many of the survivors are now in their 70’s and 80’s. Bhalla reflects on her visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Museum and how the oral histories of that event stood out as so vivid. It inspired her to create an archive on the Partition, an event that was little known around the world but had tragic, long- standing consequences for generations of families. Go to  for more information.

Mary Griggs Burke, a late trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of art and renowned collector of Japanese art has given through her estate more than 300 works of Japanese art and a 17.5 million endowment to the museum. An endowment of equal size is being given to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Burke was a Minnesota native who eventually settled in New York.

The 2015 Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art held in Singapore gave out the following awards. Tokyo-based collective Chim/Pom was named the Overall Best Emerging Artist. Hong Kong’s Asia Art Chive won Best Asian Contemporary Art Institution. Chinese artist Gu Wenda received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art.

Japanese Brazilian abstract artist Tomie Ohtake died in February. She was 101. Known primarily as a painter, she also did sculpture and prints. From 1950 – 62, she did a series of blindfolded paintings perceived as a critique of the extreme rationalism of the Brazilian art scene at the time. A cultural center bearing her name has opened up in Sao Paulo.

Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s  early work centered on printmaking and sculpture. In the late 1990’s, she started making videos and films. She teaches  at Chiang Mai University. Her most famous work is a series on corpses. In “The Class”, editions 1 through 3, she can be seen delivering lectures on death to a classroom of student corpses. A retrospective of her work was recently shown at the Sculpture Center in Long Island, New York. 44 – 19 Purves St. (718) 361-1750.

“Man of Letters” is an article by Brian Droitcour in the April issue of “Art  in America”  chronicling the publishing activities of experimental artist Paul Chan.

Comic book artist Norman Lee whose work graced the pages of books such as “X-Men”, “The Avengers” and “Supergirl” is missing and presumed dead after snorkeling in the Cayman Islands. His vibrant, inventive work brought each story alive. Our  condolences to his family.

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has been named “World’s Most Popular Artist” in 2014 the Art Newspaper reported. Kusama is 86 and has lived voluntarily in a mental health institution in Tokyo since 1977. A traveling retrospective of her work that toured South and Central America drew over 2 million viewers. A second retrospective now in Taiwan will be traveling to New Delhi. The publication dubbed her “the new poster girl for the globalization of contemporary art.”

Performing Arts

“Jasper in Deadland” is a new musical now playing at 5th Avenue Theatre until May 24th. This pop/rock musical is loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Seattle raised actress/singer Diana Huey now based in New York is in the cast. Written by Ryan Scott Oliver & Hunter Foster. 1308 – 5th Ave. (206) 625-1900.

Seattle Symphony plays host to a full season of events. Here are some highlights. On May 26th, violinist Pinchas Zukerman performs with pianist Angela Cheng. Visit Seattlesymphonyorg or call (206)215-4747.

The 44th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest community-powered arts and culture festival in the U.S. and it’s always free. Takes place  May 22 – 25th at Seattle Center. The cultural focus of this year’s festival is “Beats, Rhymes & Rhythms: Traditional Roots of Hip-Hop in the Northwest”. Showcased will be elements of hip-hop and their origins, going back to jazz scatting, African dance and music, Brazilian capoeira and spoken word. Besides that, world cultures will be represented in elements of music, poetry and dance including Thai classical dance, Bollywood etc. Another special feature will be performances by the Duoc Su Lion dance team and Huong Viet Performing arts group in the Cornish Playhouse. The Chinatown/ID’s own Massive Monkees will be there with a Break Dancing challenge with Arts Corps.  For more information, call (206)595-1151 or email [email protected].

The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605  South Main St. Sponsored  by 4Culture, National Park Serice, and Earshot Jazz. For details, go to

The Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, an off-shoot of the 5th Avenue Theatre brings live musical theater to students across the state. “Baseball Saved Us”  (see related article in our May 20th issue) based on the award-winning children’s book by local author Ken Mochizuki follows the journey of a young boy, with his family. They are imprisoned behind barbed wire, and guarded by soldiers at the start of WWII for looking like the enemy. As the boy learns to play baseball on the hot, dusty fields, he learns more than a game, he learns how to survive. Touring schools now throughout May, 2015. To register, call (206) 625-1418 or email [email protected]. Plays one night only on May 9th at Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island.

Pagdiriwang is the annual Filipino arts festival held annually at Seattle Center. This year on June 6th and 7th with performances, exhibits, food and kids activities.  A film series around the theme of the island of Mindanao is also  showing. Go to for details.

Jazz vocalist Sachal Vasandani is just one of many major jazz musicians appearing at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend, a weeklong workshop and festival directed by John Clayton from July 19th – 26th at Fort Worden State Park. Includes daily instruction from professional faculty and concerts as well. For details, go to or call (360) 385-3102×109.

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. Dynamic pianist Lang Lang takes on Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor” along with works by Beethoven, Respighi and Greig’s “Piano Concerto” with the Seattle Symphony on Sunday, October 11th at 2pm. Gershwin’s American masterpiece, “Rhapsody In Blue” is performed Oct. 16th – 18th with Jeff Tyzik conducting, Jon Nakamatsu on piano and Doug LaBrecque on vocals. Meeka Quan Di Lorenzo on cello, and Jessica Choe on piano join other members of the Seattle Symphony as they perform a program of chamberworks by Bernstein, Carter, Prokofiev and Shostakovich on Oct. 27th at 7:30pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. 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.

Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16  season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Coming in August is “An American Dream” based on true stories from the Northwest. The opera tells the story of a Japanese American family forcibly  removed from an island in Puget Sound during WW II. Nina Yoshida Nelsen, Adam Lau and Hae Ji Chang perform the roles of the family. Judith Yan makes her Seattle Opera debut, as conductor of the orchestra. Jonathan Lemalu, a Samoan from New Zealand makes his Seattle Opera debut singing the role of Nourabad in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” next. Finally, Director Lang returns to stage directing Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang makes his Seattle Opera debut as Figaro. McCaw Hall at Seattle Center at 321 Mercer St. (206) 389-7676 or try 1-800-426-1619 or go to [email protected].

Comedian Bobby Lee of Mad TV fame performs his routine at Parlor Live Seattle May 28th – 30th.  1522 Sixth Ave. in Seattle. To to or call (206) 602-1441.

Noted Seattle singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama sings songs from his latest release on Sat., June 6th at 4pm outdoors at UW’s Henry Art Gallery. Part of the “Senses of Summer” series at the museum which brings artists and audiences together for a series of intimate outdoor concerts that heighten the senses and embraces the possibilities of a warm summer evening. Go to for details.

Comedian Aparna Nancherla performs in the Comedy Womb series at Theatre Off Jackson on June 21st. 409 – 7th Ave. S. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets available at Stranger Tickets.

Sound Theatre Company presents a Seattle Premiere production of noted British playwright Tom Stoppard’s “Indian Ink” done in collaboration with local South Asian theatre company Pratidhwani. The story is about a British woman poet in India who falls in love with an Indian painter and the complications that follow. August 13th – 30th. Presented at the Center Theater at the Seattle Center Armory at 305 Harrison St. Go to for details.  Pratidhwani Theatre group also premieres a new production entitled “Dance Like a Man” on July 24th. For details, go to or call (425) 522-3570.

Congratulations to jazz musician Chris Icasiano who as part of the Table & Chairs Collective nabbed a Golden Ear Award from Earshot Jazz for “NW Concert of the Year”.

ACT Theatre celebrates their 50th anniversary with their 2015 Season. Some highlights include the following – “Threesome” by Seattle playwright Yussef El Guindi is a world premiere co-production with Portland Center Stage set for June 5th – 28th. Jeanne Sakata’s “Hold These Truths” based on the true story of UW student Gordon Hirabayashi who confronts the government over their orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast During WW II was a sold-out hit in a short run last year. Now it returns for a multi-week run July 17th – August 16th. 700 Union St. (206) 292-7676 or go to

The “Seattle International Dance Festival-Beyond The Threshold” comes to town  from June 12th – 27th. With dancer companies local, national and international appearing at various venues around town. It also marks the sponsoring organization, Khambatta Dance Company’s 25th Anniversary  Celebration. Besides performances, there will also be a chance to study dance in workshops with some of the visiting dance troupes. Of special interest is a dance company called “Hong Kong Exile” consisting of dancers from Hong Kong and Vancouver, BC. They present “NINEEIGHT”, a sensory driven multimedia dance theatre work inspired by Mo Lei Tau, a phenonmenon of absurdist, comedic film that emerged in Hong Kong in the 1990’s. Through an eccentric cinematic language, the work seethes with the climate of political anxiety of Hong Kong just before its handover to Mainland China in 1997, reflecting on personal fractures, disorientation, and the significance of a “motherland” at times  of political, social and geographical transition. Paired with badmarmarDance, a local Seattle dance company who took last year’s “Spotlight on Seattle Artistic Development Award”. Part of Program A set for June 19th and 20th at 8pm.  Another highlight  and festival favorite from 2014 are Jerome Aparis of Massive Monkeys and Ezra Thomson of Pacific Northwest Ballet who meld the grace of ballet to the energetic moves of Hip Hop/B-Boy moves. This work employs elements of last year’s work along with original music by William Lin Yee. On a double program with Dancing People from Ashland, Oregon who are back by popular demand. . On Program B on June 21st at 7:39pm.Venues include Raisback Hall Theater at the Cornish College of the Arts at 2015 Boren Ave and the Moore Theater at 1932 2nd Ave. For tickets go to or call (888) 377-4510. For more information, go to or call (206) 552-0694.

Set for 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2015/2016 season is the World Premiere of “Waterfall, The Musical” based on the Thai novel “Behind the Painting” about a forbidden love affair between a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat in 1930’s Thailand on the eve of WWII. It marks the U.S. debut of Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as the student and is directed by Tak Viravan. With book & lyrics by Richard Malty Jr. and choreography by Dan Knechtges. This is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse and is billed as “a groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists”. October 1st – 25th. Subscribe by April 27th for the best seats. Go to or call (206) 625-1900.

The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world. For their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. In the “World Dance Series”,  Seattle favorites Sankai Juku return with the North American premiere of “Umusuna: Memories Before History” Oct 1 – 3 at 8pm. This work by this contemporary  butoh group evokes the essence of duality and unity encapsulated in the Chinese characters for “birth” and “earth” that combine to form the work’s title. The Akram Khan Company is known for fusing the classical Indian form of kathak with contemporary dance. They make their northwest debut with “Kaash” in which the theme of Hindu gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction all play key roles. Nov. 12 – 14th  at 8pm. 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, the Peking Acrobats and sitarist  Anoushka Shankar make appearances. Peking Acrobats come to perform their daring balance maneuvers with live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments on Sat., Jan. 23, 2016 at 3pm and 7:30pm. 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. A “Special Engagement” will feature “An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” on Tues., Dec. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm. This world – renowned cellist has recorded classical music and has never been afraid to collaborate with musicians from various genres from all over the world. This appearance is a rare opportunity to hear him in an intimate space. (206) 543-4880 or go to or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket office open M – F from 11am – 6pm.

“Turbine for Moving Choir” by Seattle composer Byron Au Yong receives its World Premiere on June 27th & June 28th at 7:30pm at the Fairmount Water Works at 640 Water Works Drive in Philadelphia. It was commissioned by the Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Water Works.

Bay Area performing arts couple “First Voice” consisting of performance artist/storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and composer/musician/jazz bassist Mark Izu has a lot of creative irons in the fire. Their new project entitled “SUITE J-TOWN – The Art Of Resilience” has its world premier in the May of 2015 in San Francisco’s Japantown community. It pays tribute to the 100-year history of Japantown through music, dance, visual art, story, sound collage, video and site-specific installations performed in different historic sites. Created by First Voice with the collaboration of the next generation ‘hapa’ artists, “the project will rediscover and strengthen the soul of a community in an effort to continue our presence in today’s rapidly changing San Francisco landscape.” Other projects include a new commission with conductor Kent Nagano based in Montreal. Locally we can expect to see Brenda and Mark come to Seattle with a production entitled “Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend” August 12th, 2015, a tale from Brenda’s family history at Trinity Church.  Also composer/bassist Mark Izu has a new cd of all new compositions entitled “The Music of Mu” based on a musical about the magical journey of a young man from the land above and a Japanese mermaid from the deep blue sea. For booking information you can contact or the artists direct at

On May 22nd, Spoleto Festival USA presents the world premiere of “Paradise Interrupted” a new “installation opera” that features an origami paper garden that unfolds on an empty stage. Conceived by artist Jennifer Wen Ma with music by Huang Ruo and starring Qian Yi as a dreamer in search of an unattainable ideal.

Actor George Takei of “Sulu” fame has a Broadway play entitled “Allegiance” that tells the story about Japanese American internment during World War II. It opens Nov. 6th on Broadway and stars Takei and “Miss Saigon” star Lea Salonga. He is crowdfunding the play on Indiegogo at  His hope is that when the play turns a profit, money will be put into an endowment to fund shows at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Film & Media

The Seattle International Film Festival returns May 14th – June 7th with hundreds of films from local filmmakers, national and international and a full slate of films from Asia and some made by Asian Americans. You can buy tickets online at or by calling (206) 324-9996 or in person at SIFF box office locations. Free copies of the complete schedule can be found around the city in coffee shops and bookstores as well. Here’s a small sampling of what you can see. A double-bill of the 1927 Chinese silent film “Cave of the Spider Woman” paired with the Shaw Brothers 1967 remake entitled “The Cave of Silken Web”. “Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories” is a Vietnamese film about a student, his playboy roommate and a night club singer adrift in the slums of Saigon. “A Few Cubic Meters of Love” is an Afgani “Romeo and Juliet” tale set in the most unlikely circumstances. “Margarita, With a Straw” is a coming of age story of a Indian college student with cerebral palsy who strives to live a normal life at NYU including the joys and sadness of romance and self-discovery. ”The Golden Hill” looks at the re-adjustment a young man from Nepal must make from his life in the  big city to the mountain village where he grew up. “The Sacred Arrow” is about rival villages caught in a thousand-year-old Tibetan archery competition and the passions that ensue. “The Teacher’s Diary” of a goofy young school  teacher on a remote Thai island who begins to fall in love with a previous teacher from reading the journal she left behind. “When Marnie Was There” is by a Miyazaki protégé and is an animated feature about a shy tennage tomboy and his relationship with a young blonde girl who may or may not be of this world. “Meet the Patels” is the story of an unlucky-in-love Indian man who gives up on the Western ways of finding a mate and tries a little traditional matchmaking Indian advice from hiw own parents and the adventures that ensue. “Seoul Searching” is a tribute to the John Hughes high school flicks by a Korean American who re-lives his youth with the story of Korean teenagers from around the world sent to the homeland for a summer camp cultural immersion. “Temporary Family” is a Hong Kong comedy about a young real estate agent who buys into a flat so his girlfriend will marry him. Trouble is, he has to share it with three total strangers. “Liza, the Fox Fairy” is a film from Hungary based on Japanese folklore and staring Japanese Danish Actor David Sakurai. “When I Am King” is about a rich man on the edge of bankruptcy who returns to the Manila slums where he grew up on a mission to toughen up his grandkids only to find nothing stays the same. ”The Dark Horse” is the true story of a Maori bi-polar speed chess champion who returns to the community to teach kids the intricacies of the game. “Gentle” adapted from a Dostoevsky short story is about a Vietnamese pawnbroker who looks back on the events that led to his wife’s suicide. “Kid Kulafu” tells the ups and downs of the mighty Filipino boxer Pacquiao and his rise to champion. Get your tickets early for this one. “Faces of Yesler Terrace” cuts close to home as it tells the story of the people caught in the gentrification of Yesler Terrace, their lives there and the struggle to move. This program is a series of shorts with talented young  local cinematographer/photographer Canh Nguyen adding his skills to Saman Mydani’s “Even The Walls”. “Paradise in Service” is a bittersweet historical romance about a young man who joins the Taiwanese armed forces.”Bonifacio” is an historical action/romance about a Filipino cultural hero who led the revolution against Spanish colonial rule. “Dukhtar” tells the story of a mother and 10-year old daughter who flee the mountains of Pakistan to avoid an arranged marriage to an aging tribal leader.”A Hard Day” is a South Korean crime thriller about a cop who covers up his own “hit-and-run” accidental killing only to be caught up in a web of consequences. “Haemoo” is a thriller co-written and  produced by the Director of “Snowpiercer” fame about crewmen on a boat truing to keep afloat before falling victim to human betrayal. “Overheard 3” is a Hong Kong thriller about a just released ex-con who seeks revenge on his former employers using a complex web of surveillance. “Partners in Crime” tells the tale of three  Taiwanese high school boys who become inseparable after finding the dead body of one of their classmates minutes after she commits suicide. “Snow on the Blades” is the story of a Japanese swordsman who is punished for failing to protect the Shogun’s chief minister. As he hunts down the assailants over the years, he watches Japan change. “The Look of Silence” is the follow-up documentary film to Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” and looks at the relative of one of the many killed by genocide as he confronts the Indonesian killers, ending decades of silence. “A Matter of Interpretation” is a Korean comedy about a failed actress and a police officer who share their penchant for interpreting dreams when it comes to their past loves. Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece, “The Apu Trilogy” will be shown in its entirety in three separate screenings in a beautiful digital restoration. This coming-of-age story of a Bengali boy follows his life up to maturity and should not be missed. “The Chinese Mayor” wants to return his crumbling city to its former glory but he must face the obstacles of pollution and moving hundreds of people. “The Coffin in the Mountain” is a moralistic tale about the fallout from the discovery and mistaken identity of human remains found on a rural Chinese mountain. ”Dearest” reveals some truths about the Chinese adoption policy as parents try to find their missing son. “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains” is the epic story of a young girl who was told at a young age she would band together the warring tribes of Central Asia. “Meeting Dr. Sun” tells the tale of four poor students at a Taiwanese high school who hatch a plan to steal a statue only to discover another boy has the same plan. “Revivre” is the story of a Korean older man who tends to his wife’s long-term illness while fantasizing about an affair with a young woman at his office. ”Under Construction”  tells the story of a woman  who tries to find her own identity amidst the urban sprawl of modern Bangladesh. “2045 Carnival Folklore” is a modern tale that looks at Japan after a nuclear disaster and the struggle for good vs evil. “Satellite Girl and Milk Cow” is an animated feature from South Korea in which a cow, a satellite girl and an enchanted roll of toilet paper band together to save the world. ”Angkor’s Children” is a documentary film about how three young people try to heal a nation wracked by war and genocide through the power of the arts. “The Birth of Sake” is a documentary about the labor-intensive job of hand-brewing sake that takes months of isolation and time away from family. “The Golden Era” follows the life a young Chinese woman author during the politically turbulent era of the 1930’s. “Little Forest – Summer/Autumn/Winter/Spring” is a quartet of one  hour films that reveal how a young Japanese woman returns to her home village to live off the land and the mouth-watering recipes she creates from the seasons. “Mountain Spirits” is a documentary film about a Taiwanese artist and his large scale site-specific pieces using all natural materials. “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll” is a celebration of the Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll scene and its triumph over destruction in the wake of the Khmer  Rouge. David Chen directs “The Primary Instinct”, a documentary on the wry, funny storytelling of Canadian bit actor Stephen Tobolowsky. “Frame by Frame” is documentary film that looks at four Afghan photojournalists in the aftermath of the Taliban and the chances of a building a free press. “Front Cover” is a drama about two Asian American men as they battle the cultural norms that keep them from living an honest life. “The Blue Hour” makes its North American premiere and it is a strange and haunting film from Thailand about a bullied gay teenager who has a steamy tryst with a stranger he meets on the internet only to have it take on a darker turn. “Good O’ Boy” is the story of a 10 year old Indian American boy growing up in 1970’s suburbia who’s just as soon collect his STAR WARS figurines and hang out with the girl next door but things aren’t easy when your father insists on pushing his Indian culture on him every second of every day.  “How to Win At Checkers (Every Time)” is a coming-of-age saga of a Thai orphan who lives with his aunt and older brother on the outskirts of Bangkok. He must deal with the reality of adulthood when his brother is drafted into the military.

Northwest Film Forum and Three Dollar Bill Cinema celebrate their 20th anniversary together with the series entitled “Queer Vision 20/20” which will screen Thursdays in June. The Japanese film “Black Lizard” screens on June 18th . Happy hour at 7pm with screening at 8pm. “Black Lizard” by Kinji Fukasaku as introduced by Ro Yoon is based on Yukio Mishima’s play based on a 1934 novel by Edogawa Rampo (a Japanese mystery writer so enamored of American writer Edgar Allen Poe that he took it as a pen name). The storyline is about a criminal genius who picks the most beautiful boys and girls to be murdered and immortalized as statues. Go to for details.

Japanese film director Junichi Suzuki’s “Nisei Trilogy” looks at the Japanese experience during World War II. The first part entitled “Toyo’s Camera” looks at the photos illegally taken inside an internment camp by the late Japanese American photographer Toyo Miyatake played at SIFF in early May. “442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity” which covers the story of the 442nd Infantry Regiment composed mainly of Japanese Americans will screen on June 27th at Nisei Vets Hall and “MIS: Human Secret Weapon” looks at the mostly-Nisei intelligence operatives working for the army and that screens on June 28th at SIFF Cinema Uptown. For details, call (206) 324-9996.

“Factory Complex” is a documentary film that reflects on the dire conditions of female factory workers in Asia. It won the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Biennale. Im Heung-Soon is the director and he said the film was partly influenced by his mother who had worked at a sewing factory and his sister who works at a department store apparel section. Some shots show women standing motionless with eyes covered. The director said that some women who worked in factories couldn’t breathe or open their eyes because of the dense dust.  The film reflects the director’s art background. He felt it was necessary to distance himself from the object.

The Written Arts/Talks


Hugo House and Kundiman present “Writing Heritage: Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month” on Thursday, May 21st at 7pm. Featuring EJ Koh, Harold Taw, Jane Wong, Michelle Penaloza, Oliver de la Paz and Prageeta Sharma. Emceed by fellow poet Arlene Kim. Don’t miss this showcase of a new generation of talented writers. Hugo House is at 1634 – 11th Ave. (206) 322-7030.

Dr. Eugenia Chang, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics & Statistics at University of Sheffield in the U.K. talks about her accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics in her new book entitled “How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics” on May 27th at Seattle Town Hall. Go to for details.

“Fighting for America: NISEI SOLDIERS” is a graphic novel that tells the story of six Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest who proved their loyalty and made a significant mark in American history.  Profiles of Shiro Kashino, Roy Matsumoto, Tosh Yasutake, Jimmie Kanaya, Frank Nishimura and Turk Suzuki. Text by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrations by Matt Sasaki. This graphic novel is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2015. Go to for details.

Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. EYE ON INDIA presents WORDS ON WATER: Writers in Conversation with Sonal Khullar, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Prajwal Parajuly on Wed., June 10th at 6:30pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum. Co-presented with TEAMWORK ARTS, the GARDNER CENTER FOR ASIAN ART & IDEAS AT THE SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM and Elliott Bay. Sonal Khullar is a professor of South Asian art at UW and she will speak about her new book entitled “Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930 – 1990 (UC Press). Poet, editor, and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra has a new book entitled “Collected Poems 1969 – 2014” (Penguin India) as well as the U.S. published “Songs of Kabir” (NYRB Books). Indian-Nepali fiction writer Prajwal Parajuly has a first book of short stories entitled “The Gurkha’s Daughter” and a new novel entitled “Land Where I flee” (both on Querus books). More information at The evening includes chai and snacks. The Museum is at 1400 East Prospect in Volunteer Park.  Vendula Vida reads from “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty” (ECCO) on June 18th at 7pm. When a woman visiting Morroco loses both her passport and money, she realizes that she could be anybody. On June 22nd at 7:30pm, Elliott Bay presents with Town Hall Seattle a discussion with Kentaro Toyama with Wier Harman. Toyama is the author of “Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology” (Public Affairs). Toyama, an award-winning computer scientist came to view the world differently after working for Microsoft in India and realizing that “one size doesn’t always fit all.” Go to or call 1-888-377-4510 for details. Nisid Hajari talks about his new book entitled “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Wed., July 1st at 7pm. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.

In response to current national unrest due to race and gender inequality, Hugo House has added a class that provides insight to writers tackling the difficult task of writing about contemporary topics while avoiding clichés and stereotypes. Runs in a series from April 11th – June 13th on Saturdays from 10am – noon. Writer/instructors include Wendy Call, Jane Wong, David Schmader, Anne Liu Kellor, Charles Mudede, EJ Koh, Anastacia Tolbert, Corinne Manning, Michelle  Penazola and Emily Warren.  Also noted poet Prageeta Sharma teaches a 1 day class entitled “The Myth of the Poetry Workshop” on Sat., May 23rd from 1 – 4pm. For details, go to or or Twitter:@HugoHouse.

“The Sympathizer” (Grove Atlantic) by Viet Thanh Nguyen is told through the arresting voice of a double agent living among Vietnamese refugees in 1970’s America.

The Cleaver Quarterly is a new magazine devoted to the discussion of Chinese food and culture. Think of the culinary magazine “Lucky Peach” with a Chinese emphasis and you get the idea. Latest issue includes articles like “Rice Killers”, “Dandelion Cuisine”, “Food Proverbs”, “Pork Graffiti”, “Dim Sum Doodles”, “Melon Diplomacy”, “Hell Food” and “Egg Extravaganza”.  Go to for details.

The UW Library (Seattle campus) was the surprise recipient of over 15,000 Korean manhwa (comics) recently  when an antiquities shop found their purchase of a storage locker of them would not be an easy sell. Instead they donated them to UW Library. The gift takes on added significance since print manhwa in Korea is a dying species being replaced by digital comics. The library hopes that their preservation of these comics will be an important resource to those interested in this vital facet of Korean culture in the future.

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 –

Stanford University History Professor Gordon Chang’s latest book is entitled “Fateful Ties – A History of America’s Preoccupation with China” (Harvard University Press).

“From Both Shores – An Anthology of Japanese and Chinese American Women’s Family Memoirs” as Edited by Bay Area poet  Ginny Lim is the latest pubishing project of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California. To order copies, go to

“She Will Build Him A City”  (Bloomsbury) is the latest novel by veteran New Delhi journalist and writer Raj Kamal Jhan. This blistering novel explores the terrible reality of India as seen through the eyes of various characters struggling to achieve their dreams deferred in New Delhi.

“What Pearl Harbor Wrought? Is a novel by veteran journalist Akio Konoshita. This novel traces the trauma of Pearl Harbor and how it affected Japanese Americans. The author is an Issei who was interned at Heart Mountain during WW II.

“For the Pink Dianthus” is a collection of haiku and tanka poems by Yoshie Hikage who also provided the illustrations. The English translation is by performing artist Brenda Wong Aoki. Published by Matsuhide of San Francisco. For details, go to

“The Blind Writer” (UH Press) is a book of stories and a novella by Sameer Pandya. Pandya came to California from India when he was eight. The stories in this book follow the lives of first and second generation Indian Americans  in today’s California as they navigate the memory of immigration in their everyday living. The book is anchored by a novella that tells the story of a triangular relationship between a  blind, aging writer, his younger, beautiful wife and a young writer desperate to start his writing career.

“Sanyan Stories – Favorites From A Ming Dynasty Collection” (UW Press) is compiled by Feng Menglong and translated by Shuhui Yang & Yunqin Yang. These stories were pivotal to the development of Chinese vernacular fiction.

“A Far Corner – Life And Art With The Open Circle Tribe” (Nebraska) by Scott Ezell is a journey into the life and world of indigenous peoples in the mountains of Taiwan as told by  a young American musician and poet

Frank Chin’s long-lost novel, “The Confessions of a Number One Son” (once entitled “Charlie Chan On Maui”) written during the 1970’s when he was stranded on the islands is finally seeing the light of day. It will be  published by the University of Hawai’i as edited by Calvin McMillin. Set for March, 2015 publication. Chunks of the book were seen in a different format as the play-in-progress “Gee Pop!” back in the 70’s. Chin was recently in town to be interviewed for a filmed segment on his take on Asian American Theatre for the Theatre Communications Group. A tour with  readings is planned for the book by McMillin at times in tandem with Chin.

“Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye” is a memoir by Marie Mutsuki Mockett that is part evocative travelogue and part lyrical meditation of grief in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan that affected her family in different ways.

Anne Elizabeth Moore’s   books on her experience in Cambodia continues with “New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia” (Cantankerous Titles). Moore works with young Cambodian girls in a year-long process to re -write the staunchly traditional and repressive Chbap Srei, a 17th century book intended to establish a code of conduct for young women. The book details that experience and how it affected the women involved. Go to for more information.

The late Ming Cho Lee was one of the most respected set designers in the history of American theatre. His new approaches radically altered the direction of American set design in the 20th century. “Ming Cho Lee – A Life In Design” (TCG) by Arnold Aronson is a book that looks at his life, his influences and lays out pictorially and in text, his major set designs for theatre productions across the country during his entire career.

“A Map of Betrayal” (Pantheon), the new novel by Ha Jin looks at the complex loyalties of a Chinese American spy who considers himself a  patriotic citizen of both countries and the  tragic results of those beliefs.

One of Chinese literature translator Howard Goldblatt’s  projects was his translation of “Market Street – A Chinese Woman in Harbin”  (UW Press) by Xiao Hong. Originally published in 1936, the then 20 year  old author recounts two years of her life in Harbin from 1932-34. Hong is best known for “Field of Life and Death” and “Tales of Hulan River”. Comes with a new preface by the translator.

“The Seventh Day” (Pantheon) is the latest novel by Chinese writer Yu Hua. What happens to a young Chinese man who meets an accidental death and must roam the after world aimlessly, lacking the money for a burial plot. Hua tells his story as he encounters the souls of the people he’s lost.

“Soundtracks Of Asian America – Navigating Race Through Musical Performance” (Duke) is a new book by Grace Wang. In it she explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class, and belonging in national and transnational spaces.

Lisa See’s novel of Chinese American nightclub performers in  pre-WWII San Francisco entitled “China Dolls” has just been released in a trade paperback edition by Random House.

Wave Books publishes poetry books but also has a pamphlet series. Each pamphlet is usually sent out to subscribers but a few copies of the latest Wave Pamphlet: Nine by local poet/writer Don Mee Choi entitled “Freely Frayed,ᄏ=q, & Race=Nation” is currently available for sale  at local all-poetry bookstore, Open Books located in  the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Essays consist  of lectures Choi gave at AWP 2014 and a “Race & Creative Writing Conference 2014” at the University of Montana, Missoula on Korean poet Kim Hyesoon,  the Korean language and a talk entitled “Reading Race”. 2414 N. 45th St. (206) 633-0811 or email [email protected].

“Meltdown in Tibet – China’s Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems From The Highlands of Tibet to The Deltas of Asia” (Palgrave Macmillan) by  Michael Buckley chronicles the ecological abuses inflicted on this country by the Chinese government in the way of large-scale mining and hydropower projects.

Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s graphic novel “This One Summer” (First Second Books) has won the Caldecott Honor, an award given to the most distinguished American picture book for children published each year. A coming-of-age story of a couple mixed-race Canadian  girls in a small town.

A spate of recent books on the ever growing contemporary Chinese art scene include these – “Contemporary Chinese Art (Thames & Hudson) by Wu Hung looks at the development of “contemporary” as opposed to “state sanctioned” visual art from the end of the Cultural Revolution to the rise of international Chinese  artists like Ai Wei Wei. Paul Gladston’s “Contemporary Chinese Art:  A Critical History” (Reaktion Books – London) looks at how all contemporary art in that country is tied to structures of power whether inside or outside the country. “My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” (Giles – London) is a catalogue accompanying a traveling exhibition by Barbara Pollack and Li Zhenhua that looks at 75 artworks by 27 young Chinese artists and collectives including Birdhead, Double Fly, Irrelevant Commission, Liu Di and Ma Qiusha. Xiaobing Tang’s “Visual Culture in Contemporary China: Paradigms and Shifts” (Cambridge University Press) looks at various art forms like prints, posters, films and paintings to see the historical frameworks of contemporary Chinese visual culture.

The Japan Times reports that noted Japanese writer Haruki Murakami started an advice column on the internet in January. After two weeks he received more questions than the number of people who can comfortably fit into a baseball stadium. He likens it  to the  ancient greeks in a stadium, each person in the crowd raising their hand up to question a speaker and feels that the proliferation of the I phone device to the overwhelming response. He thinks it will take time but he hopes that he will be able to respond to each and every question.

Art News/Opportunities

Local artists Rob Rhee and Dawn Cerny have turned their dream airbnb into an art installation called Xenia (a Greek term for hospitality). They have been given the loan of a friend’s apartment in Eastlake. So if you have any out-of-town friends with an artistic bent who like to live with art that isn’t mere decoration and need a place to stay, this may be the place. The front living room looks like spartan “Ikea” furniture tweaked by artists. Rhee, a transplanted New Yorker now teaching at Cornish supplies a funky table with fantasy plans of the furniture hanging on the wall. On one surface sits another artist’s book collection with personal notes that come with each book that tell you how they relate to his “Northwest”. So in a sense, this inn appeals to the artistic Sherlock Holmes who not only likes to live with art but to sleuth out the clues that each artist has left behind with their art objects. Rhee likes to see the boundaries between form and function dissolve. Available through May  for $100 a night. Call (646) 431-7490 if you’re interested.

Artist Trust invites visual artists in Washington State to apply to the EDGE Professional Development Program which is 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. Edge takes place in Port Townsend Oct. 24th – 3lst. Applications will be accepted until June 30th, 2015. There are some scholarships available as well.  The Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) has a final deadline of May 18th, 2015. However early birds who submit by May 10th get to have their application reviewed for clarity and completeness and be entered in a raffle to win a free Artist Trust membership. Go to for more details.

The Frye Art Museum has a full slate of Summer Studio Art Classes from June to August 2015 as well as a Kids Camp in Dramatic Arts. Artist Lois Yoshida teaches an Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting. For details on classes and registration, call (206) 622 – 9250.

Xu Bing and Maya Lin are a few of the artists who have been awarded with the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts that recognizes their commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the arts, specially their work with the Art in Embassies program.

Wu Tsang was one forty-six artists who received a 2015 grant from Creative Capital in the Visual Arts category. Artists received up to $50,000 each.

Earshot Jazz seeks submissions from Seattle-area individual artists and ensembles for the 2015 Jazz: The Second Century series. Submissions must include a recorded sample of a project that can be performed in a concert setting. Please send submissions electronically to [email protected] or by mail to Earshot Jazz, 3429 Fremont Place N., #309, Seattle,WA 98103. Deadline is June 1st, 2015. If you have any questions before applying, call (206) 547-6763 or email [email protected]. A list of past winners can be viewed at

NNWFF also seeks excellent new Northwest films for their Local Sightings Film Festival  which screens Sept. 24th – Oct. 3rd this year. Deadline for submissions is June 15th, 2015. Go to for details.

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. An exciting upcoming activity planned by the organization is a visit to Kagedo Japanese Art’s new gallery-residence set amidst Japanese-inspired Northwest gardens on the South Shore of Orcas Island. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the galleries and attend an informal discussion of Nihonga paintings, modernist bronzes, basketry and lacquers on view. In addition, co-owner Jeff Cline will discuss opportunities for collecting Japanese art. Set for Thursday, May 28th from 1 – 4pm.  Participation is limited and advance registration a must. $40 discounted rate for members and $50 for non-members. For members credit card registration, go to, for non-members credit card registration, Or you can also send your name and contact information with a check made out to Friends of Asian Art Association to: Friends of Asian Art Association, PO Box 15404, Seattle, WA 98115. On Sunday, June 7th from 1 – 4pm, the association has another exciting event planned. Do you recall the excitement you had doing coded messages as a child? Have you been puzzled yet intrigued by Asian calligraphy but felt it was too difficult to decipher? The “Square Calligraphy Workshop” will let you write all of your Arabic letters in Asian style strokes. Join us in this voyage of discovery as you learn about the world of Asian calligraphy. Limited to 20 people ages 10 or above. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room. (206) 522-5438 or email Friends [email protected] to make reservations and buy tickets.

Hing Hay Coworks is a collaborative work space centrally located in the Bush Hotel in the heart of Seattle’s ID/Chinatown neighborhood. It is open to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups or small businesses and is animated by a community of business leaders who value meaningful partnership, creative exploration, and bringing ideas to market. The space will be open for monthly memberships in April. Space is limited, so please contact them if you want to become a member. Please refer all inquires to Quang Nguyen, Hing Hay Coworks Manager at [email protected].

The annual Enumclaw Studio Tour will be held on June 13th, 2015. Local artists who would like to participate in the event are invited to submit a request for an application to Gary La Turner at [email protected]. Applications are due May 16th, 2015. If you have questions, you may call (360) 802-0239.

Congratulations to Professor Wayne Au, a recipient of UW Bothell’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award. What’s even more extraordinary is that he was nominated for this award by all fellow faculty and undergraduate students. He is currently associate professor in the School of Educational Studies. He is the author of “Unequal by Design: High Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality”, co-writer with Bill Bigelow of “Rethinking Our Classrooms Volume 1” and editor of “Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice”.

Nominations for the 2015 Mayor’s Arts  Awards has a May 31st, 2015 deadline. For details on categories and how you can nominate worthy candidates, go to

The city of Seattle is launching a Civil Poet Program to celebrate Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing in the future of literary arts through community engagement. This is a paid position with various duties. Deadline to apply is May 28th, 2015. Go to for details.

“Applications are now being accepted for Washington State Poet Laureate 2016-2018. Deadline is July 31st, 2015. The role of this position is to promote awareness and appreciation of poetry through readings, workshops, lectures and/or presentations in various parts of the community throughout the state. This is a paid position. For details go to [email protected] or call (206) 682-1770×110.

There are still some out there who fear the change that art can bring to people’s lives. Sabeen Mahmud was founder and director of PeaceNiche and a member of the Asian Society’s 21 Young Leaders Network. She was murdered by unknown assailants on her way home in Karachi, Pakistan. Her non-profit organization was set up to promote democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement.” Her space called The Second Floor was a “café, book shop, art gallery and performance space” that hosted hundreds of events since it founding in 2007. Our hearts go out to her friends and family and those who continue this struggle.

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