Open House, November 7, 2018

The Chinese American Museum in Washington DC hosted an open house on November 7th featuring various exhibits on display. Each illustrates a facet of Chinese Americans in history and modernity. Please find brief descriptions of each component presented during the open house.

 

Dr. Jong’s Paintings:

A delightful addition to the open house was a presentation of a series of paintings in the traditional Chinese style created by Dr. Sesin Jong. Dr. Jong has several exhibitions across the world, from New York to Shanghai. Although he began his professional career pursuing medicine, he taught himself Chinese painting and calligraphy. Because of his lack of formal training, Dr. Jong’s style presents an exceptional take on this classic style, especially through his use of vibrant color. Dr. Jong shared his technique and expertise in an in-person demonstration. Several of his paintings are on display at the CAMDC.

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Paving the Way:

From the indentured servitude of Chinese laborers on the Transcontinental Railroad to the modern protests honoring Vincent Chen, Paving the Way presents a chronological account that traces the experiences of Chinese immigrants in American history. It takes you back to pivotal moments throughout Chinese American history and celebrates the impact of this community. Several individuals and their stories are featured, such as: Lonnie Young, who, like many American women during World War II, replaced men in the workforce after they went overseas to fight; or Lue Gim Gong, whose expertise in agriculture and citrus trees helped Florida’s crop of oranges survive an extreme winter in the early 20th century. Not all the events were pleasant; the Chinese Exclusion Act and many other anti-immigrant sentiments evidenced instances of rejection of the Chinese community. However, Paving the Way shows a greater story, a legacy of triumph and achievement by Chinese Americans.

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Build it Together:

Build it Together is a collection of historic accounts illustrating Chinese and American collaboration during the earliest years of immigration to the United States. The exhibit includes examples of several well-documented political collaborations such as Madame Chiang Kai-Shek’s address to the House of Representatives. There are also some quieter moments that are not widely publicized but are equally as powerful, such as the photograph of an interracial family playing in their living room. Build it Together presents snapshots that mark the beginning of a shared history that has lasted into modernity.

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