Magnetic Field

Week 2: “Love me, leave me high and dry. I’m back in your arms and I don’t know why. Can’t get around your magnetic field.” – Magnetic Field by Lights

It is Week 3, Tuesday night. Life called me away from weekend homework duties and I wasn’t able to finish all three blog posts by Sunday night. It is Week 3 and I am feeling the weight of my life on my shoulders.

Last Tuesday we went on a field trip to the Tacoma Art Museum, the Washington State History museum and the Chinese Reconciliation Park. The specific exhibit from the TAM was “In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and Transcontinental Railroads” by Zhi LIN. This exhibit was extremely powerful and the one I spent the most time in. This exhibit is exactly why learning the real history of this country is so important. Before this class, I did learn about the Chinese railroad workers, the dangerous and unhealthy conditions they worked in and the political cartoons, the propaganda that was created during that time. In seeing this exhibit, I learned more about the Chinese workers and the lack of recognition they received from all the hard labor they did. Zhi LIN is an amazing and engaging artist and it’s clear to see the amount of passion and urgency in the art.

At the History museum, the exhibit we looked at was from Japanese artist, Takuichi Fujii. Fujii and his family were incarcerated during WWII for about three and a half years. These pieces of art were so colorful, full of life and intricately detailed. After having read “When the Emperor was Divine” by Julie Otsuka I have a better idea on what life must have been like in the barracks, even if it’s a fictional one. From that book, a common thought I had was how could people find the strength to keep going, especially when they have kids to take care of. Otsuka’s words of how they describe how the characters are managing through the days in the barracks were emotional to read and I can only assume that for Fujii creating art was one of the ways to manage, to survive.

This is why it’s so important to appreciate and seek out as many forms of art, education and media created by people with marginalized identities. The history of Asians in the United States is undertold and whitewashed. It’s a history of API being valued for their labor and not much else. It’s a history of API being stereotyped and discriminated against. It’s a history of API leaders, artists and political rebels being unknown. Our history is erased from the larger narrative. I could go on because this is the same story of other marginalized identities, it’s a lifelong work to give everyone and everything the recognition they deserve.