Heartmind: Origins

"Origins" pieces

From right to left:

Carrie Yamaoka, "Untitled," 1970s, drawing

Fay Chiang, "Untitled," 1992, painting

Bob Hsiang, "Portrait of Hisako Hibi," 1983, photograph

Bob Lee, "Waiter," 1974, drawing

This group of works personifies the origins of the Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) collection and aspects of Asian American art history. The untitled abstract pastel by Carrie Yamoka is the first piece Bob Lee ever collected for the AAAC collection, setting the precedent for AAAC’s collection.

To the left is a portrait by Fay Chiang, a poet and the executive director of Basement Workshop, the earliest New York-based Asian American arts organization. Chiang’s lyrical painting depicts her father, Bay Doc Chiang, whom she often wrote about. In her poem, “Parents,” she wrote:

hey! That dude was some snappy dresser.
during the war, they let him work
the navy yards as an apprentice steelwelder
but when the soldiers came home
laundry customers called him Charlie.

The black and white photograph of Hisako Hibi, a Japanese American painter and printer based in San Francisco is by Bob Hsiang, an early pioneer in the west coast Asian American movement. This image represents the vast network of Asian American artists represented in the AAAC collection.

Below Hsiang’s photograph is a whimsical drawing by Bob Lee himself. Completed in 1974, it was published in 1999 by Godzilla, an influential Asian American arts collective and support network founded in 1990.

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