Our Portraits, Our Families - a group photography show of family narratives
On View at the Museum of Chinese in America: June 13 – July 13, 2014
Presented by Asian Pride Project, Our Portraits, Our Families is an exhibition at the intersection of Art, Advocacy, and Allyship for Asian Pacific Islander (API) families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) members. Our Portraits, Our Families seeks to visualize and promote the realization of love and understanding in our families, as a way to undo culturally ingrained bias. This exhibition celebrates the eternal optimism of familial love without forgetting the tears so many of our families still endure.
Each featured artist worked with an API LGBTQ individual and their family, resulting in a series of visual narratives of varied emotional content within the shared context of immigrant values. By highlighting the family experience, Asian Pride Project hopes to shed light on a topic oftentimes silenced within API communities, provide lessons and role models for families with LGBTQ members, and place importance on the role of families for LGBTQ acceptance in all communities.
Stories highlighted in this exhibition include a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime with a deep sense of filial piety, the journey of a Korean twin whose adoptive parents saved and embrace her fully, and a transgender playwright who finds acceptance within his partner’s family.
Advocacy through photography is at the heart of each participating artist’s art practice. Alexis Lim, Justin Maxon, Ka-Man Tse, Nelson Chan, and Pete Pin hail from prestigious institutions including Yale University, The Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, The Salt Institute, and Rhode Island School of Design. Chiun-Kai Shih, creative director for Conde Nast Asia, features how those in the community are breaking the LGBTQ ceiling by being leaders in their respective industries: Peter Som, Anita Lo, DB Kim, and Marcus Teo.
We recognize that the portraits here are not definitive by any means. Family is not static; it is ever-evolving in the face of unpredicted revelation and change. What we offer is a small glimpse into the lives of a handful of families. What remains invisible to us as viewers are universal issues, from the little victories in life to our daily struggles. It is in this day-to-day living – openly and proudly – that is most inspiring about the families of Our Portraits, Our Families.
We ask you to view our work as a public call to action, to empower our families and communities to speak out against vocal and silent discrimination, to embrace the beauty in difference, and to expand the boundaries of love and understanding for people of all sexual and gender identities.
We invite you to take this opportunity to enjoy these diverse, rich and artistic LGBTQ family narratives and share widely amongst our communities.
The team at Asian Pride Project would like to acknowledge our selection committee for their expertise during the artist selection process:
Alison Morley, International Center of Photography
Aries M. Liao Sng, Asian Pride Project
Clinton Cargill, New York Times Magazine
Prerana Reddy, Queens Museum
For press inquiries, please contact Aries Liao Sng, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Asian Pride Project
The Asian Pride Project is founded on the belief that families go through a coming out process, too. The organization lends voice to the API LGBTQ community through video, writing, and visual art and is one of ten national API organizations honored as Champions of Change by the White House.
On this special occasion, Asian Pride Project would also like to announce the launch of The Public Collection, an ongoing initiative to gather family pictures and narratives of API LGBTQ individuals and their families. These materials are community-sourced and contribute to shaping the public perception of the API LGBTQ communities and the families that come out with them.