Friday, March 31, 2017

On March 26, 2017, the Museum of Chinese in America hosted an event for the Wing on Wo (W.O.W) & Company.

Audience Members

The W.O.W & Company Project's mission is to "engage the community to shape the future of Chinatown by bringing together youth, elders, business owners, and concerned residents in a conversation and innovate idea generation." This past week, W.O.W & Company organized "Residency: Artist Talk + Arts & Activism Roundtable," which was organized by artist Melissa Liu.

Mei Lum, a Sponsor at W.O.W & Company, introduces the guest speakers

The event kicked off with Mei Lum, a sponsor at W.O.W & Company, introducing guest speakers Ryan Wong and Jay Koo.
The Experience of Trauma, within the Chinese community, is rarely discuss. Jay Koo Brings this Topic Into Conversation, Which Will Hopefully Prompt More Recognition and Research Towards the Overlooked Issue.

Ryan Wong, a Curator at MoCA, Talks About the New Form of Activism Within Chinatown, Including the Barriers the Come With Them

Ryan Presented a Slide That Features Contributions,  Made by theAsian American Arts Centre, to the Community

Afterwards, Lum allowed Liu to lead the roundtable discussion. "The roundtable on art and activism in Asian American communities," W.O.W & Company's official statement explains, "will focus on the relationship between art and social change, gentrification, and bridging cultural and international gaps, as well as activism around Asian/Asian American representations in the arts." Activists from The Yellow Jackets and An/other NY were guest speakers at the panel.

The Yellow Jackets & An/other NY

The Yellow Jackets & An/other NY

The Yellow Jackets, as well as An/other NY, are a group of Asian American activists who helped protest an exhibition, featured in SPRING/BREAK, entitled "Show Mein." In the show, Asian American food and culture became (yet another) victim to stereotyping. Here is a statement from An/other NY:

Melissa Liu (劉慧慈) also talked about her work, an oral history project entitled "Chinatown Diaspora: Red Envelop Oral Histories." Here is an official statement from W.O.W & Company:

"[At the Artist in Residency Event,] Participants will have the opportunity to design and make their own red envelopes, in which they will place a question to share with a family member or friend from an older generation and collect a written response from. Participants will also receive basic training on how to conduct an oral history interview within their community, and have a safe space to discuss issues that Asian communities face in today’s political moment.

Through her window display project, Melissa hopes that the exchange of questions through red envelopes between younger and older generations will spark deeper conversations and moments of empathy that can help bridge intergenerational understanding in Chinatowns and Asian American communities through shared Lunar New Year traditions, and also result in the sharing of stories, experiences, and memories from the Asian Diaspora with locals and street passersby."

Melissa Liu Talking About Her Work

Here is Melissa Liu's official statement on her work:

"I developed this oral history project from the realization that there is often an understanding and cultural gap between older generations who grew up in different circumstances and those of us who have been raised as 'Asian Americans.' ...Oral history is a practice rooted in listening and privileging a narrator in a conversation, and therefore a tool that lends itself naturally to this work... My longterm goal is for those who have been part of this project to continue creating safe spaces to discuss issues that Asian communities have confronted in the past and face in today’s political moment. The window display at Wing On Wo & Co. is a place to share what has come out of a series of oral history workshops I have held with participants who identify with the Asian Diaspora.

Though red envelopes containing money are passed from those of married age and older to younger generations, I have encouraged participants to reverse this exchange by giving their handmade red envelopes to someone from an older generation in their family or community. But rather than money, the red envelope will be exchanged with a question, opening up an opportunity for a conversation to happen."

For more information about Wing on Wo & Company:
For more information about An/other NY:
For more information about Melissa Liu and her project:

*All photographs were taken by Bob Lee
Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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