community digital exhibition



This year, Wing Luke Museum developed the exhibit Belonging: Before and After the Immigration Act of 1965 in its Seattle Chinatown-International District location. This exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of the Immigration Act of 1965, a bill that activated a sea change in the ethnic and cultural make-up of America. The subject seemed fitting, as the museum’s building was repurposed in 2008 from the Freeman hotel that once housed Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants during the pre-World War II era.

As we researched content for the exhibit, we wondered what stories existed beyond our purview, among people all around the nation. How do we document our own lives?

We issued a national call for submissions for art and words about immigration. The response we received was tremendous. While the influx of submissions meant that we regrettably couldn’t include every entry, it also confirmed the urgency of collecting and archiving these experiences.

We are proud to present this crowd-sourced showcase of some of the many rich stories within our communities. May we continue to find new ways to collect and preserve these narratives, and reclaim how history remembers us.

Wing Luke Museum

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Girl With Camera


Jennifer S. Cheng
Digital Collage

“Palimpsest” is an ongoing series of digital collages, utilizing personal photographs, in which my mother as a child is located in modern American environments of my own history and experience. The final image here is a reversal in which I am impossibly located in my mother’s childhood. The series is an exploration of dislocation as an embodied experience for immigrants and children of immigrants: the distance between past and future, the relationship between body and landscape, and the simultaneous erasure and rewriting of histories.

Palimpsest by Jennifer S. Cheng

El Manto Americano

Armando Minjarez
USA and Mexican flags, paint, marker and thread
El Manto Americano by Armando Minjarez

Brown Angels at Work

Poem by Raúl Sánchez

Bestida Daytoy Ni Apong Ko (My Grandmother’s Dress)

Julz Ignacio

created this short homemade film in honor of my grandmother, inang Ambrocia. she raised me til I was 7, taught and spoke to me in ilokano. my earliest memories are with her in this house. her long white hair, how she’d make rice, cook top ramen noodles, do what she could to take care of me in amerika, far from the barrio & rice fields she knew.

when i returned to the philippines last year, i found a photo of her which happened to be the day she left for amerika in 1976. i showed it to her and asked if i could keep it. then she emerged from her room with the dress in that photo and gave it to me. she also gave me that woven chair, the coconut was carved and given to me by my dad, and the song is the first piece i ever learned from him.

so this is for her. for her struggle. for leaving the islands, rice fields. for my dad, my auntie, my mother, my uncle, my sisters, my brothers. for all my family, chosen and birth. for qtpoc folks of diaspora.

Prepare for Landing

Kathy Liao
Collage, pencil, ink on paper

During my travels back and forth between Taiwan/Japan and the United States, I often spent long hours on airplanes. These trips, often brought on by unexpected family situations, whether it is death in the family, estate/immigration issues, sickness in family, forced me to mentally prepare myself before I stepped off of the plane. The 14-hour plane ride became the intermediary, the neutral zone, the calm before the storm, as I re-adjust my head to face a new situation, the other culture, the other life. During the last lag of my flight back from Japan, I was drawn to the image of an Asian flight attendant, seated, but looking out the window, anxiously. I resonated with the tension I witnessed with this flight attendant. My father brought me and my family to the States when I was young, and he later did everything he could to make sure we had a good living here in the United States. He traveled back and forth every couple months to see us, then return to work in Taiwan. I imagine the physical and mental tolls thesetrips had on him. What was he thinking during take-off and landing?

Prepare for Landing by Kathy Liao

Nguoi Con Gai Viet Nam

Phuong Vuong
Nguoi Con Gai Viet Nam by Vuong Phuong

Morning Service

Poem by Troy Osaki


Ling Ling’s Dumplings

Ling Chun
Ling Ling's Dumplings by Ling Chun


Immigration as Archive

Mata Ruda
Oil on Panel

Inspired by the work done by Colibri Center for Human Rights, an organization that helps identify the dead on the U.S.-Mexico border, and assists families of the missing through compassionate direct service and reliable forensic data. A humming bird represents messengers from the afterworld and is a manifestation of the spirits of those warriors/humans who have passed. The toe note wrapped around its wing represents the reincarnation of the identified undocumented immigrant who did not survive the journey through the Sonoran desert. The skull in the center is what was found and what remains of the unknown immigrant. The cropped portrait represents one of many undocumented immigrants or “refugees”) who flee north in search of a better life. Due to the way the border wall has been built, many immigrants are funneled into the desert and forced to face its fatal conditions. For more information, check out Colibri Center for Human Rights and the 2013 film, Who is Dayani Crystal?

Immigration as Archive by Mata Ruda

Among the Boat People

Prose by Nhi (Nancy) Chung

Register of Eliminated Villages

Poem by Tarfia Faizullah

No Mas Deportaciones

Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Arenivar,
Colectivo de Detenidos
A# 206801775
Country of Birth: El Salvador

“All of us who are incarcerated need our freedom and to see our families. Being an immigrant is not a crime and therefore we shouldn’t be treated this way. It’s an injustice what is being done to us.”

No Mas Deportaciones by Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Arenivar

Stop the Criminalization of Migrants

Grafica Mazatl
Linoleum Print on Paper

This Image was created in 2011 for an “Immigrant know your rights” campaign that was put together by organizers here in Mexico and across the border in the US. Part of the purpose of the campaign was to fundraise for Mexican, Chicanos, and Spanish speakers from the US to attend the 2011 Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

Stop the Criminalization of Migrants by Grafica Mazatl


Immigrant Bag

Poem by Eddie Kim


Nosh-e Jan

Gazelle Samizay

In Nosh-e Jan (Bon Appetit) the viewer is invited to witness the ritual of passing and consuming secrets within an Afghan-American family. The ritual serves as an outlet of expression for the women that bear secrets, without violating the strict code of keeping face. Though the secrets are shared in three different languages (Pashto, Dari, and English), the secrets transcend the generational divides of an immigrant family. While the women are the main transmitters of the secrets, the impact on men must not be forgotten.

Remember the Source

Melissa Lew
Digital Collage

My paternal grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1939, entering through the Port of Seattle. My piece, Remember the Source, is inspired by his story. The sacrifices he made in order to come to America to pursue the American dream. The red thread keeps him connected to his homeland and family no matter the distance (the vast blue). The nickels represent how much he started with in America and how hard he worked to build a future for his family here. The Chinese characters translate to, “When you drink the water, remember the source,” in honor of how hard he worked to make sure his children and grandchildren knew their heritage, their culture, their background, and to keep it alive in this country.

Remember the Source by Melissa Lew

Migration: On the Yellow Brick Road

Yu-Wen Wu

We Would Repeat Them Daily

Poem by Mary Pauline H. Diaz


Girl with Camera

Eliseo Art Silva
Girl with Camera by Eliseo Art Silva

Words to Dust: Language, Loss and the Coca-Cola Super Bowl Controversy

Essay by Arvin Temkar
Originally published by Hyphen Magazine


dåkot-ta (dakota alcantara-camacho)

Linalai (Chant)


Immigration is Loving Two Women

Poem by Javier Zamora



This resource guide provides further information for those interested in learning more about:
  • immigration reform
  • current policies
  • how immigration affects certain groups
  • legal assistance
  • community resources
  • applying for residency
  • the history of immigration in the U.S.

Click here to access the Belonging Exhibit Resource Guide







Visit Belonging: Before & After the Immigration Exhibit at Wing Luke Museum. On view from March 5, 2015 to February 14, 2016.