Dreams of Diaspora

November 2015: So Excited to be a part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Google Cultural Institute H-1B art exhibition with Jyoti Omi Chowdhury. Thanks to Lauren Peng, Jean Piguet, and Christine Tsai for helping us make this artwork. Check out all the artworks.



Dreams of the Diaspora - Jyoti Omi Chowdhury and Frances Kai-Hwa Wang - Google Cultural Institute

ICYMI: More about the exhibit here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/new-smithsonian-digital-exhibit-explores-immigration-stories-through-h-1b-n468221

January 2014:
Very excited to be a part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Indian American Heritage Project H1B Art Exhibit (part of at Twelve Gates Arts Jan 18-Feb 28 in Philadelphia with Jyoti Omi Chowdhury and our multimedia art installation, "Dreams of the Diaspora" (available online soon). Opening reception and panel discussion with curator Dr. Masum Momaya and artists January 18, 3:30 PM.

More info at http://twelvegatesarts.org/




“Dreams of the Diaspora,” is a multimedia conversation of photographs, prose poetry, spoken word, and soundscape, in which two voices—an Asian American child of immigrants and an Asian immigrant—explore their very different experiences of both America and the diaspora. The child of immigrants knows how difficult it is to grow up as a minority in America and longs for the certainty of home and culture that the immigrant carries but takes for granted, while the immigrant knows how tenuous his stay in America is and envies the certainty of home and place that the American-born has but does not appreciate. Both voices ache with alienation as they wander the globe, yearning for both the future and the past, independence and belonging. Together, they discover connection and identity and courage in each other. The events following 9/11, including racial profiling at airports and the uncertainty surrounding the H1-B visa, form the turning point of the piece, when the two voices stop arguing about their differences and begin walking together instead.

Despite very different backgrounds and different artistic visions, as Omi and I continue to explore our mutual fascination with landscape, light, space, identity, and the human spirit, we keep finding connections between our work, and our projects keep circling back to each other. We are currently putting together a chapbook to continue this conversation about identity, stereotypes, courage, risk, and who we can become in the space of the beloved.

And here's the chapbook, available at Blacklava.net:  
http://www.blacklava.net/#/item/dreams_of_the_diaspora_chapbook_-_frances_kai_wang

Dreams of the Diaspora began as a multimedia conversation of photographs, prose poetry, spoken word, and soundscape, in which two voices—an Asian American child of immigrants and an Asian immigrant—explore their very different experiences of both America and the diaspora. Both voices ache with alienation as they wander the globe, yearning for both the future and the past, independence and belonging. As Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and Jyoti Omi Chowdhury explore their mutual fascination with landscape, light, space, identity, and the human spirit, this has become a conversation about identity, stereotypes, courage, risk, and who we can become in the space of the beloved.

What people are saying about "Dreams of the Diaspora" chapbook:

The speaker in these poems was born “in the slipstream of the diaspora” and even while using humor, the desires explored here feel elemental and slightly dangerous, like touching the blue tongue of a flame at its hottest point. Born of the latent desire of a lover in the absence of a beloved, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang’s poems are compelling testimonials to living and loving in the 21st century while inhabiting a body of color.
—Ravi Shankar, founder of Drunken Boat and author/editor of eight books/chapbooks of poetry, including W.W. Norton's Language for a New Century

“Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” This pertinent question is at the heart of this multi-form exploration of diasporic experiences in Dreams of the Diaspora by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, where she weaves together themes of lostness, desire, search, self knowledge, history and heartache with eloquence and elegance, and does so with an honesty that is as hard-hitting as it is moving. We hurtle along with her words and the stories that the remarkable accompanying photographs by Jyoti Omi Chowdhury tell, and we begin to reexamine in new ways our own experiences of diaspora with its complex interconnected and disconnected worlds.
—Zilka Joseph, author of Lands I Live In and What Dread

What is so appealing about Frances Kai-Hwa Wang's writing is the smooth blend of the sensory and sensual with a sharp social and cultural critique, the personal and familial with the historical antecedents of communities in which she has her origins. Her awareness of Asian-American issues burns like a steady flame and flares up or simmers as the occasion demands. Her erotic longings are spiced with a dash of humor. She is open to experiment in multimedia formats and content. This is an activist’s collection bristling with literary energy.
—Saleem Peeradina, author of Slow Dance

I feel at home when reading Dreams of the Diaspora. Home is where my nostalgic and hopeful heart belongs. Omi and Frances describe their homes beautifully.
—Lac Su, author of the memoir I Love Yous Are for White People



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