Huntington Library Celebrates Asian American Contributions, Addresses Injustices at Symposium

Published on Mar 3, 2023

The prestigious Huntington Library dove into the complex history of Asian American experiences in California at the “Asian American Experiences in California: Past, Present, Future” symposium. This one-day event, organized by the renowned Huntington Library, will take place on Saturday, March 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the stunning Rothenberg Hall.

The symposium will address the historical roots and contemporary issues surrounding Asian Americans in California. 

In an interview with Phillip E. Bloom, Curator of the Chinese Garden and Director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies, and Yinshi Lerman-Tan, Associate Curator of American Art, it was revealed that The Huntington has been expanding its collection of archival materials documenting the history of Asian American communities in Southern California for the past fifteen years. The Huntington has also been increasing its focus on Pacific Rim collections to reflect scholars’ interest in migration, ethnicity, and the transnational aspect of individuals and communities. The symposium is part of The Huntington’s efforts to bolster its condemnation of violence targeting Asian American communities and support its Asian American colleagues, visitors, and friends.

The symposium will showcase items and artifacts from the collections of The Huntington, including artworks by Seattle-based Japanese American painter Kenjiro Nomura, installations and artworks by ceramicist Mineo Mizuno, and large-scale works by contemporary artists Dominique Fung and Cai Guo-Qiang. The symposium will also feature speakers who will discuss their own archival research in The Huntington’s collections, such as Prof. Wendy Cheng of Scripps College, who will highlight the archive of Lily Lee Chen, the first Chinese American woman to be elected mayor of any city in the United States.

The symposium will have four panels that will discuss a broad range of issues emanating from the Asian diasporic and Asian American collections and communities. The panels will focus on the roots of Asian American experience and anti-Asian racism in California; artistic expressions by Asian American artists and their contributions to American art; the role of museums and archives in shaping the narrative of Asian American history; and the future of Asian California, including the challenges ahead and the successes to be anticipated. The symposium aims to encourage awareness of societal inequalities and violence faced by Asian Americans, as well as highlight the contributions that Asian Americans have made to California.


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