AAPI Art Exhibitions Around the World
May is AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month! It is a dedicated time for celebrating the cultures, traditions, joys, contributions, and influences of Asian and Pacific American people in the United States.
The term Asian/Pacific includes people groups from the entire continent of Asia and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. May was chosen as AAPI Heritage Month to commemorate the first Japanese immigration to the USA on May 7, 1843, and to celebrate the legacy of the Chinese workers who laid the tracks of the transcontinental railroad, which was completed on May 10, 1869.
One way you can celebrate AAPI Heritage Month is by immersing yourself in the AAPI experience. Sometimes, experiences are best represented and communicated through art. We’ve compiled a list of notable AAPI physical and virtual art exhibitions where you and your kids can discover the rich art and culture of the AAPI community.
AAPI Museums in the USA
The Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California)
The Japanese American National Museum is home to works of art, artifacts, photographs, textiles, and oral histories of Japanese Americans across 130 years of history. The museum’s mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of America’s diversity by sharing a part of the Japanese American experience. The museum’s campus also includes a historic Buddhist temple, a brilliant pavilion, and a 200-seat theater.
The Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, California)
Established in 1966, this massive museum of Asian art boasts more than eighteen thousand works ranging from artifacts of ancient jade and bronze to contemporary video installations. The museum’s galleries are rotated regularly, making each trip to the museum a unique experience. The Asian Art Museum aims to make Asian art and culture essential to everyone, providing a space to connect with different communities and spark conversation.
The Rubin Museum of Art (New York, New York)
What began as a couple’s fascination with the Tibetan “White Tara” thangka has now grown into a museum of over one thousand sculptures, paintings, ritual objects, and textiles of various Himalayan cultures. Shortly after the museum’s opening in 2004, the Dalai Lama visited and blessed the Rubin Museum, expressing his gratitude for the preservation of Himalayan art.
Galleries to Enjoy Virtually
The Virtual Asian American Art Museum (VAAAM) is a collection of dynamic, interactive narratives of Asian American art, history, and culture. Along with displaying works of art, VAAAM’s online platform contains audio from the artists themselves, featuring clips about their artistic process, major influences, areas of inspiration, and more.
“Do We Dream Under the Same Sky?” (8-bridges)
From May 1 through May 31, Bay Area art website 8-bridges is hosting a special online exhibition in honor of AAPI Heritage Month. This exhibition highlights artists from various stages in their career, representing both historical and emerging artists. The creators of the exhibition hope that by increasing the visibility of these AAPI artists, they’ll gain more interest and support from communities everywhere.
Asian American Artists Collection (The National Gallery of Art)
The National Gallery of Art is a center of visual arts, education, and culture. Visit their Pinterest board to peruse works by Asian American artists from their collection. With works ranging from paintings and sculptures to video installations, get a glimpse of the National Gallery’s Asian American collection.
Museums to Visit Abroad
Pintô Art Museum (Philippines)
The Pintô Art Museum, located in Antipolo, was founded in 2010 on the idea that art plays an important role in bringing together different nationalities, worldviews, and communities. Though the artwork in the collection reflects larger movements such as surrealism, expressionism, and minimalism, the collection is distinguished by Filipino cultural identity and national history. Located within the beautiful Silangan Gardens, the museum grounds themselves are a work of art.
The Himalayas Art Museum (China)
The Himalayas Art Museum strives to not only exhibit original works of art but also to be a space where academic debate flourishes and ideas about art are exchanged. The museum’s collection contains artwork from local contemporary Chinese artists as well as international artists.
Gallery Gondwana (Fiji)
Fiji’s Gallery Gondwana, located on Denarau Island, showcases a range of authentic, original artwork by local urban and rural artists, including paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, and more. Named after the southern half of the Pangaean supercontinent, Gallery Gondwana strives to showcase art from this entire region, highlighting the influences of Fijian culture both past and present.
Red Dot Gallery (Sri Lanka)
Located in Senanayake Mawatha, the Red Dot Gallery is home to some of the most experimental and innovative art in the country. The gallery is run by the Theertha International Artists Collective and highlights contemporary artists who specialize in the 90s Trend era. Along with hosting a variety of group and solo exhibitions, Red Dot also coordinates an international residency art program.
Galeri Hadiprana (Indonesia)
Founded in 1962, Galeri Hadiprana is one of the longest-operating galleries in Jakarta. After decades of growth, the gallery is now housed in a large space with movable walls, one of its most unique characteristics. Galeri Hadiprana aims to promote the best of Indonesian contemporary art, staging exhibitions that communicate a deep sense of respect for Indonesia’s cultural identity and traditions.
Galerie Quynh (Vietnam)
Galerie Quynh is more than just an art gallery. The museum collaborates with artists, curators, museums, and art spaces around the world to organize international lectures about art movements. The gallery opened in 2003 with the goal of supporting and developing arts education throughout Vietnam. Galerie Quynh is well known for its contemporary collections by local Vietnamese artists, ranging from drawings and paintings to videos and other installations.