Family heirlooms and artifacts brought in by students, staff, and faculty members at UW-Whitewater are being presented in honor of Asian Awareness Month.
The Cultural Reflections of Asia Exhibit will be presented from April 1 through April 18 in the Fiskum Gallery, located in the University Center.
The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Southeast Asian Organization and Academic Support Services.
Samantha Samreth, the Southeast Asian Organizations’s faculty adviser, has been a major supporter of the event.
“We have two goals for this exhibit; the first goal is to share and educate students within the university that diversity is dynamic among Asian countries. We want students to realize that every country has its own traditions, culture and art forms,” Samreth said. “There seems to be a myth that all Asians are the same, and our second goal for the show is to expel that exact ideal. There are similarities between Asian cultures but many definitive differences as well.”
All of the artifacts in this exhibit were brought in by students, staff or faculty members of UW-Whitewater.
“Most artifacts come from the contributor’s family. They can be family heirlooms or possessions that were brought back from the participants’ native countries,” Samreth said.
Pictures, arts and crafts, writings, costumes, various clothing, traditional musical instruments, tapestries, post cards and many other types of memorabilia are featured in the exhibit.
Samreth added that the origins of these items can range anywhere from 30-40 years ago to the present. An item’s age depends on what the artifact is and where it came from.
“The exhibit has representational artifacts from ten Southeast Asian countries in total,” Samreth said.
They are items from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the Philippines, just to name a few.
Students involved in the Southeastern Asian Organization, members of the Japanese organization on campus and affiliates of the art department will also be doing demonstrations on origami and calligraphy. The demonstrations will be held from 4-5 p.m. on April 12 in the UC Room 261.
Following the demonstrations, there will be a paper cutting workshop held by Xiachong Zhang.
Zhang uses one of the oldest art forms of paper cutting, which involves cutting intricate designs out of sheets of paper.
Through these designs, she expresses her personal experiences of growing up in the Hubei Province of China, and being a first-generation immigrant traveling to the United States. Her artwork holds relevance not only to her own life, but also to the culture that she comes from.
Kim Adams, the Assistant Director of the UC is also a contributor and organizer of the event.
“It is always important for the Fiskum Gallery to collaborate with different students on campus. It is essential to represent the traditions and ideals of different cultures. We chose to have this exhibit in support of Asian Awareness Month.” Adams said.
Adams added that all students, staff, faculty and members of the community are welcome to come and experience the cultures of numerous South East Asian countries that they may have previously known little about.