Heartmind: Global Exchanges

Pieces of art under the theme "Global Exchanges"

From right to left:

Danny Yung, "Tian Tian Xiang Shang ('Xing Zuo Shi You 2013')," ink drawing

Yoshiko Shimada, "Three Women – See, Hear, Speak No Evil," 1992, photograph

Lee C. Lee, "Turpan Market," 1986, photographs

Danny Yung (brother to AAAC cofounder Eleanor Yung) came to the U.S. from Hong Kong for college and graduate school, and along with his sister, helped establish the Basement Workshop. Tian Tian, the character Yung created in the 1970s, was inspired by the Chinese proverb, tian tian xiang shang, meaning “study well and climb higher every day,” commonly seen on school gates throughout China starting in the 1950s. While the proverb encouraged students to work hard, Yung thought they lacked critical thinking and would grow into adults who, as the text on the drawing suggests, lack their own opinions. Conversely, Tian Tian is a curious little boy who questions everything. The text translation reads:

Head is round, Ears are big, Nose is small,
Without a thorough plan,
Standing by with folded hands,
No desire to move forward,
Form and essence in a jam.

While many of the phrases are traditional Chinese idioms, the last one is contemporary, sometimes invoked to analyze and decipher particular political situations in China into the present moment.

In "Three Women - See, Hear, Speak No Evil," avant-garde feminist printmaker and performance artist Yoshiko Shimada critiques the silence of Japanese women during World War II. Much of her art addresses Japan’s relationship with World War II and its often nostalgic portrayals. “Unfortunately, the old generation tries to ignore the past and the young are ignorant of the past,” she has said.

Lee C. Lee was an Asian American studies pioneer (she was founding director of the East Coast’s first Asian American Studies program at Cornell), but also studied the lives of those in China. In 1981, she was the first American psychologist permitted to do research in China after the Cultural Revolution. She studied the development of children in Beijing and Shanghai and also traveled through Xinjiang, home to the Uyghur ethnic minority, capturing moments from their everyday lives.

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