Chicago painter and professor Laura Kina has been busy curating the multiracial Asian American experience in words, images, and video. Together with professor Wei Ming Dariotis, Kina has put together a multimedia exhibit at Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience titled War Baby/Love Child that looks at the experience of mixed-race Asian Americans. The exhibit features 19 artists, including established multicultural leaders such as Kip Fulbeck and Richard Lou, as well as emerging artists.
Even if you are not in the Pacific Northwest, you can check out Kina’s and Dariotis’ book War Baby/Love Child (University of Washington Press, 2013) which features essays, interviews, and images from multiracial writers and artists.
Both the exhibit and anthology are the culmination of over five years of work. Asian American identity and the fluidity of race have been constant themes of Kina’s own oil paintings. She believes the timing of War Baby/Love Child reflects the growing awareness of an increasingly ethnically ambiguous Asian American population. “I was able to be visible, but only as an Asian American,” says Kina, who is white and Okinawan, of the earlier parts of her 20-year career as an artist.
The and book illustrates not modern-day experiences, but puts interracial marriage and mixed-race identity into historical context.
The name War Baby/Love Child is a play on the assumption that mixed-race Asians must be the children of unions between American G.I.s and women from the Philippines, Korea, and Japan. Another theme focuses on the historical racial hierarchy in Hawaii and other U.S. territories. Other works examine the biracial baby boom of the past 40 years brought on by the Immigration Act of 1965.
As a bonus, a separate exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum, Under My Skin, focuses on race in America. Under My Skin features 26 artists’ interpretations of immigration and racism, to spark thoughtful conversations about race in the 21st century and beyond.
Want to learn more? Here’s information about the exhibits and book:
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 S. King Street Seattle, WA 98104 206-623-5124
War Baby/Love Child
Runs through January 19, 2014
Under My Skin
Runs through November 17 2013
War Baby/Love Child
Edited by Laura Kina and Wei Ming Dariotis
University of Washington Press, January 2013
Grace Hwang Lynch is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She blogs about Asian fusion family and food at HapaMama.com