Elephant and the Indians
June 25-July 13 2016
Chinese men and women crossed the Pacific Ocean to find wealth and prosperity in “Gold Mountain” in order to escape the widespread poverty of their homeland. Lee Yik-Gim, a Chinese man who worked on the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 1880s, had an extraordinary experience of his own. Native Americans captured him and he lived with them for two years before arriving in Baltimore. This fantastic story is one of the many scenarios of what could have happened during this unique encounter of a Chinese immigrant and Native American tribe.
Embracing a Noble Tradition
Embracing a Noble Tradition is a collection of artwork of students and teachers from the Chinese Brush Painting Society of San Diego. All of these students and teachers come from various ethnic backgrounds, but come together for a collective purpose: to capture the spirit and aesthetics of the Chinese painting tradition.The Society currently has over 30 active members, including accomplished artists, who meet to share ideas on all aspects of Chinese brush painting and host workshops on different styles of traditional and contemporary Chinese brush painting and calligraphy.
The Great Ming Unearthed
February 6 – April 30 2016
In this exhibit, visitors are able to explore the representations of daily life and spiritual beliefs from one of the glorious ages of Chinese civilization. To coincide with the exhibition, Professor Sarah Schneewind of the UCSD History Department, and author of A Tale of Two Melons: Emperor and Subject in Ming China, will give a special presentation on the afterlife beliefs of the Ming.
The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental
The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental exhibit is on display at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum through the end of March. The exhibit gave a historical overview of the Chinese railroad laborers who were instrumental in building the United States’ first transcontinental railroad. This traveling exhibit was on loan from the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) Museum. It was also the first time SDCHM and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum collaborated on for an exhibit. SDCHM and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum offered reciprocal membership for the entire month of March.
The exhibit features historical and contemporary photos, illustrations, and personal stories from descendants with bilingual Chinese/English text written by the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University. In order to bring the exhibition to life, SDCHM displays period artifacts and train memorabilia from the Museum’s own collection. The San Diego Model Railroad Museum also loaned spikes and a lantern used during the transcontinental railroad period.
Crescent Moon over the Celestial Empire
A unique fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic traditions with Hui-style Arabic calligraphy, traditional garments, and various religious articles from northwest China. About ten million Hui live scattered across China, and they do not have a language or physical characteristics distinct from the Han majority. Their ethnic identity is mostly based on their descent from foreign Muslims who settled in China as early as the Tang Dynasty and various practices associated with Islam. While Dr. Alex Stewart was conducting research in Xining, Qinghai Province, numerous Hui donated artifacts for use in this exhibit in hopes that Americans will learn that Muslims can peacefully integrate with a secular culture.
Art Without Borders
Experience the finest contemporary Chinese art with Art Without Borders: The Da Dun Fine Arts Exhibition of Taichung City. For this exhibit, jurors have selected the finest examples of modern and traditional arts like painting, seal carving, printmaking, sculpture, digital art, and photography from among 1,347 entries from 27 different countries. Taichung City has held this exhibition each year since 1996, and it has been a major, international contest since 1999. This is the first year the exhibit has traveled to the United States, and Taichung has selected the Chinese Historical Museum in its sister city of San Diego to host the exhibition and celebrate our international friendship through the universal language of the arts.
The Lyrics of Light & Color by Dr. Polly Liew
Feast your eyes on the graceful strokes and charming colors of Dr. Polly Liew’s watercolor paintings. Dr. Liew debuted 29 of her paintings of flowers, landscapes, and other subjects at the Chuang Archive and Learning Center. Polly’s work incorporates bnoth Chinese brush painting techniques and Western watercolor principles.
Jack Liang’s Spirit of the Celestial Horse
More than 30 of Jack Liang’s recent works will be displayed at the Chuang Archive and Learning Center to show a pioneering spirit in Asian art, while maintaining an illustrious style in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Born in Shanghai in 1947, Jack was raised into a family of professional artists. From an early age he immersed himself in the study of calligraphy and watercolor, as well as western drawing. Trained in the Literati School of Chinese Painting, Jack learned to see painting as an extension of humanity, much like philosophy and poetry. He uses his training in Western painting theories to reexamine traditional Chinese techniques that emphasizes the subjective expressions of natural forms through the unique qualities of brush and ink. His contemporary outlook and traditional style create a fine balance between inner self and outer objects as he forges ahead into a new frontier.
Photographs of the Great Wall
Chen Changfen began photographing the Great Wall in 1965 while working for the Chinese Civil Aviation Company. Through the tumultuous years that followed, this project became a labor of love rather than a mere occupation. Chen has traveled rugged mountain trails and braved inclement to capture the wall in all its manifestations, returning to some sections more than one hundred times. Chen prints some photographs on rice paper to capture traditional Chinese aesthetics, conveying the perseverance of Chinese civilization and the enigmatic philosophy of Taoism. It is easy to see why Time Magazine named him as one of the ten preeminent photographers in the 150 years since the invention of the camera.
Ah Quin-Life, Leadership, and Legacy
Experience a rags to riches tale like no other in this exhibit that follows Ah Quin from a missionary school in Guangzhou; through menial servitude in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and a coal mining camp in Alaska; to the red light district of San Diego where he ascended to the role of Chinatown’s honorary mayor and left an indelible impact on the fledgling city. Presented exactly 100 years after his untimely death, this collection of never-before-seen artifacts generously donated by Jeanie Ming and other Ah Quin descendants captures the indomitable spirit of early Chinese Americans whose struggle for economic survival produced a unique transnational culture. Join the museum in celebrating one of San Diego’s lesser-known founding fathers on the very block where he raised his twelve children in the heart of the Chinatown he helped create. The exhibit will open with an informative lecture by Curator of Chinese American History Murray Lee followed by a reception with refreshments in the museum garden.