by Victor Simoes
On Feb. 1, “Meet Me at Higo: An Enduring Story of a Japanese American Family,” the traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum, opened on Level 8 of The Seattle Public Library’s (SPL) Central Library location. The exhibit tells the story of a Japanese American family in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District before, during, and after World War II, allowing visitors to get a sense of the profound historical roots of the Japanese American community in Seattle.
Continue reading ‘Meet Me at Higo’ Recalls Executive Order 9066 Through Seattle’s Murakami Family →
‘Resisters’ Finds Lines of Solidarity Between Japanese American Incarceration and Other Movements Against Racism and Oppression
by Amanda Ong
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor during WW2, 112,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast were forced into prison camps. Innocent civilians, elders, and children were uprooted, and many had their property seized. Many from Seattle’s vibrant Japanese American communities were imprisoned at Pullayup’s disingenuously named Camp Harmony and later taken by train to Camp Minidoka near Jerome, Idaho. They were forced to live there until 1945 — with the last camp closing in 1946 — and it wasn’t until 1988 that congress issued an apology. While this history has been much undershared, excluded from our history books and school curricula, it has played a critical role in Japanese American history and American history as a whole.
Continue reading The Wing Luke’s Latest Exhibit Asks, ‘How Would You Resist?’ →
by Ronnie Estoque
During the 2020 protests against police brutality and amid a global pandemic, local businesses across the city shut their doors down and put up boards to cover their storefronts. The uncertain times gave light to many local artists who decided to use their time and talents to transform boarded-up storefronts with murals. Located on Rainier Avenue, Paradice Avenue Souf, a burgeoning youth-centered Black and Brown artist collective, chose to create a mural to show the importance of multiracial solidarity during times of social unrest. Through a collaboration with the Wing Luke Museum (WLM), their Black and Brown Solidarity mural alongside other art pieces and installations are showcased in their exhibit called “BACK HOME.”
Continue reading ‘BACK HOME’ Wing Luke Exhibit Highlights Black and Brown Solidarity →
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷
🖋️ Letter From the Editor 🖋️
Starbucks strikes continue to make local and national news, including their current request for the National Labor Relations Board to suspend union elections at all of its U.S. stores.
In continued coverage of safety concerns around transit, we share news of a developing story around a death at Mount Baker Station.
A community storytelling series will also be presented at Hing Hay Park, featuring Yuko Kodama, Anne Xuan Clarke, Christina Shimizu, Norma Timbang, and Luzviminda (Lulu) Carpenter.
—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald
Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS | Starbucks Pushes to Suspend Union Elections Nationwide, Community Storytelling Series in the CID →
by Tiffany Hearsey
The killings of John T. Williams, Jesse Sarey, Giovonn Joseph-McDade, and Jacqueline Salyers by police devastated Seattle-area communities. Now, their families honor and preserve their memories with public memorials. Williams’ Honor Totem Pole towers above a throng of tourists at Seattle Center. The patch of grass where Joseph-McDade took his last breath now hosts a bench — a resting place for a grieving mother. In Tacoma, a cross overlooking a freeway brings together an Indigenous community in remembering Salyers, a mother of four who was pregnant at the time she was shot and killed by a Tacoma policeman. And at the CID’s Wing Luke Museum, a memorial quilt bears the name “Jesse.” Sarey’s family, and others who grieve the lives of their loved ones killed by police, hold on to the hope of healing and a fight for justice so that police who kill will be held accountable.
Continue reading Families of Those Killed by Police Honor Their Memories →
by Amanda Ong
At just 22 years old, Tamar Sunnam Manuel says someone could know him for decades and still know very few of his stories. Manuel is a practicing fine art and gallery artist who spent his formative years in the CID. While he started out in photography, he eventually found his way to mixed-media arts, meaning he does “a bit of everything.” But in his two-plus decades of life, Manuel has also been an amateur competitive tennis player, clothing designer, boxer, bowling champion, and dancer.
Continue reading Artist Tamar S. Manuel Grows Out of the CID Into Mixed Media →
by Amanda Ong
On Jan. 15, 2022, the newest student exhibit by the YouthCAN program, “Fashion in Focus,” opened at the Wing Luke Museum in the Frank Fujii Youth Gallery.
YouthCAN is a free after-school arts program for high school students that runs its schedule on a quarter system. “It’s a great way for high school youth to learn about the Wing and explore arts professions,” Blake Nakatsu, exhibit developer and YouthCAN program manager at the Wing Luke Museum, told the South Seattle Emerald. “Our goal is really to just provide a space for youth to engage with arts and their peers. And I hope that we continue to be a place where students feel connected to the Chinatown-International District.”
Continue reading Wing Luke Museum’s ‘Fashion in Focus’ Exhibit Highlights Youth Art Program →
by Shin Yu Pai
I thought the show should be called Hey, Good Looking, but the marketing team for the the Wing Luke Museum voted in favor of the more lyric Where Beauty Lies. I’d been hired to write the narrative panels and introductory text for an exhibition organized around decolonizing beauty. Counting up the number of cosmetic and elective procedures I’ve undergone over the years, I felt at least some mild sense of disingenuousness. But part of why I signed up to help with the show was to make myself look more closely at some of my half-examined beliefs about beauty.
Continue reading Where Beauty Lies →
by Kamna Shastri
The life-size metal sculptures of George and Gerard Tsutakawa — father and son — are solid mainstays gracing public parks and fountains across Seattle today. The sculptures are almost always curved, edges rounded. Rarely will you see sharp, angled corners or ridges in these designs. Continuity runs through each individual sculpture — and between the sculptors themselves. A new exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum, titled “Gerard Tsutakawa: Stories Shaped in Bronze” dives into the public art, inspiration, and processes of both father and son.
Born in 1910, George was Nisei, second generation Japanese American. He was never very interested in his studies, “preferring to practice his drawing and calligraphy,” writes his daughter Mayumi Tsutakawa. George received his B.A. from University of Washington (UW) in 1937 and volunteered for the United States Army during WWII, mostly teaching Japanese at a military intelligence school in Minneapolis. During WWII he also visited his relatives interned at the Lake Tahoe internment camps, where he met his future wife Ayame Kyotani.
Both husband and wife were artists in their own right: Kyotani a gifted practitioner of traditional Japanese dance and flower arrangement and George an architect, designer, and sculptor, among other things. After he completed his M.F.A., also at the UW, George took on faculty positions at the School of Architecture and later the School of Art. He would go on to teach for 37 years, make a home with his wife in Mount Baker, and raise four children surrounded by the rhythms and inspirations of his in-home studio. His artistic career would span 60 years, leaving footprints in Japan, Canada, and across the United States, making him a pillar of Seattle’s Asian American heritage.
Continue reading George and Gerard Tsutakawa’s Artistic Legacy Honored in New Wing Luke Museum Exhibit →
by Yuko Kodama
Beth Takekawa came home one day to a newsletter from her grandmother’s church on her dining table. The priest had written about “this little immigrant lady” in his congregation, and Takekawa read on, wondering who this new person was. She got a jolt when she realized he was writing about her grandmother. To Takekawa, her grandmother was a giant in her household. She says this was the first time she realized how important perspective is in conveying a story.
Beth Takekawa, the executive director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, is retiring after nearly 25 years of leadership at this 54-year-old cultural pillar in Seattle’s Chinatown International District (CID). Wartime took the Takekawa family to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho during WWII. Post-war, the family moved to Minnesota with the help of a Japanese American relocation committee. Minnesota was where Beth grew up, but she gravitated to Seattle, where her family has roots just a few blocks away from the museum.
Continue reading Executive Director Beth Takekawa Retires From Wing Luke Museum →