What happens to traditional artforms across generations and continents? From hand-formed soba noodles made in Seattle to the 5000 year old art of paper cutting, these documentaries show us artists who are compelled to follow their cultural lineage through art making. Witness the ingenuity and dedication of immigrants who use the arts to affirm their modern identity and keep historic artistic practices alive.
This is a free program. Seats are offered on a first-come, first-seated basis.
Kaz Takahashi shares her experience as a Japanese Canadian, and how she continues to reclaim culture and community through continued study of Ikebana.
Chef Mutsuko Soma is the chef-owner of Kamonegi, a celebrated Seattle restaurant that focuses on hand-formed soba. Rich, contemplative images highlight the balancing point Chef Soma has found between innovating with local pacific northwestern ingredients and remaining loyal to a traditional Japanese culinary art form.
Zhao Meiling is a renowned paper cutting artist practicing a 5000 year old artform passed down to her by her grandmother. Her granddaughter, Cui Jinghan, is eager to carry on the tradition of telling stories of rural life in China through paper cutting.
Khannia Ok, Associate Artistic Director of Khmer Arts Academy, is a young Cambodian American woman who teaches Khmer classical ballet. As a performer and educator, Khannia acts as a caretaker of a narrative artform spanning millennia that was threatened into extinction by genocide.
Vanishing Chinatown: The World of The May’s Photo Studio brings families together: in the past by splicing together family portraits in spite of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and in the present by reconnecting May’s granddaughter with her family’s legacy. These stunning photographs show San Francisco Chinatown in the early to mid-20th century, a vanishing “old Chinatown” vibrant with culture; an immigrant community becoming Americanized.
The photographs were almost lost, but art student Wylie Wong rescued 700 photographs trashed in a dumpster. Corinne Chan Takayama, granddaughter of the photographers Leo and Isabella May Chan Lee didn’t know what had happened to the photographs, but forty years later found that Wylie had saved some of the photographs. We interweave Corinne and Wylie as Corinne tells personal stories sparked by the photographs and Wylie, along with other historians and Cantonese opera performers, explain the historical background and artistic value of the images.