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Celebrating Asian Pacific American art and cultures

2010 painting Shimomura Crossing the Delaware by artist Roger Shimomura

While the Asian and Pacific Islander communities have always faced forms of discrimination and xenophobia, the recent increase of hate and violence have been a troubling and heartbreaking  reminder of prejudice, especially as our elders have been targeted.

In times of division and hatred, arts and culture are a great source of humanity and hope. As we raise our voices and come together, turning to arts and culture can help us find new ways of learning, understanding and healing.

With Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month upon us, it is with great joy that I’m announcing that Google Arts & Culture has partnered with 48 cultural institutions and experts of Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) cultures to celebrate and launch a new hub dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures. This builds on our work with partners including the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American CenterCenter for Asian American MediaMuseum of Chinese in America and Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design.

With new partners including Visual Communications, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, and Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the site includes over 110 stories and thousands of cultural artifacts, archives and artworks — all available in one place. Now, everyone will be able to learn more about API cultures in the US and how their contributions shaped the economical, political and cultural life of the country.

  • Picture of Chinese poetry found on the barracks walls of Angel Island Immigration Station

    Poetry found on the barracks walls of Angel Island Immigration Station 

  • The painting Pattern Recognition by artist Jennifer K. Wofford

    Pattern Recognition by Jennifer K Wofford - Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

  • Picture of Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian American to fly in space

    Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian American to fly in space

  • Picture of Hieu Pham, owner of Crashfish Shack Seafood

    Hieu Pham, owner of Crawfish Shack Seafood

  • Picture of Ruth Asawa in her studio circa 1956

    Ruth Asawa in her studio (ca. 1956) - de Young museum, San Francisco

  • Picture of Queens Kapi‘olani and Lili‘uokalani of Hawai'i

    Queens Kapi‘olani and Lili‘uokalani of Hawai'i - A.A. Montano and George Prince, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Washington, DC

  • Picture of weightlifter Tommy Kono

    Sacramento native Tamio "Tommy" Kono, one of the greatest weightlifters of all time

Whether these cultures are familiar or new to you, there will be something for you on this hub to get acquainted with and deepen your understanding of API cultures.

Wondering where to start? From food, art, music, poetry, science and innovation, follow our cultural bucket list to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures:

  1. Poetry: Often called the Ellis Island of the West, Angel Island is where thousands of immigrants arrived in the US. Read this moving story about the immigrants’ poems engraved onto the barrack walls.
  2. Art: Jenifer K Wofford's mural, patterned with Tibetan bone aprons and Thai Kranok motifs, name-checks prominent figures in Bay Area Asian American art history, including Carlos Villa and Jade Snow Wong.
  3. Heirlooms: What’s your favorite personal object? Hear the Museum of Chinese in America’s community share stories about a special object of theirs; a cassette single of A Tribe Called Quest's "Check the Rhime,” a Fu Manchu mustache, a jade necklace, a marathon medal.
  4. Science: Ellison Onizuka was the first Asian American to fly to space, and whose important legacy has inspired many since.
  5. Food: Meet Hieu Pham, the owner of Crawfish Shack Seafood in Atlanta, who uses his multicultural background to create unique Vietnamese cuisine with a touch of the American South.
  6. Art: Read about Ruth Asawa’s journey to become one of America’s esteemed modern artists.
  7. History: Learn about these two Queens of Hawaii, Kapi‘olani and Lili‘uokalani, whose legacy of advocacy and philanthropy are still at the heart of Hawaii today.
  8. Sport: Follow the story of Tommy Kono, the record-breaking Olympian who overcame hardship and discrimination, becoming one of the greatest weightlifters of all time.

We’re hoping this will inspire you to start your journey of learning more about API cultures, and that you’ll  come back regularly as we work with cultural institutions to tell more Asian and Pacific Islander stories. 

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