5 Ways to Celebrate AAPI Heritage

Celebrate APAHM by exploring the history, arts, and culture of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.

By Google Arts & Culture

Kinding Sindaw by Joseph PinlacAsian American Arts Alliance

1. Dive into the history

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic group in the U.S., and the question of belonging and identity is more critical than ever among the AAPI community. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in Asian representation in mainstream media, and Asian Americans have also flourished as poets, writers, directors, fashion designers, architects, visual artists and more. The creative offerings of Asian Americans aren’t just accepted, but celebrated.

Van Troi Anti-Imperialist Youth Brigade (1972-08-22) by Alan OhashiVisual Communications Media

In Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), we aim to highlight the history, heritage, and contributions of the community, with the stories from API artists and activists. Keep clicking to read about some of the inspiring leaders in the API community, and how they’ve helped define what it means to be Asian American.

Loe Lee Portrait

2. Meet Loe Lee

The artist behind the hub's colorful illustrations this year is Loe Lee, an award-winning illustrator, designer, and muralist from New York City who combines whimsical themes with everyday scenes. Having spent her childhood in Chinatown, she continues to partner with local community groups to bring art and aid to the neighborhood.

Onwards Together (2022) by Loe Lee

"I wanted to celebrate the diversity of API cultures that exist in America without grouping them beneath one moniker. As a result, I illustrated different API communities and elements coming together for each scene. This appears most notably in the header image, where I created a unique creature comprised of numerous symbols found in Asian and Pacific Islander art."

"These elements include the hibiscus, mountain ridges and cherry blossoms, sampaguitas and water buffalo horns, elephant tusks and lotuses, and so much more. Ultimately, I wanted to showcase our communities coming together, while at the same time featuring the unique characteristics of the cultures that live here."

A Lady and a Road Map (1962) by Bernice Bing, American, 1936 - 1998Asian Art Museum

3. Discover API artists

Learn about the Abstract Expressionist artist, Bernice Bing, who is finally getting her due. Bing was a leading figure in the San Francisco arts and queer communities, and was deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism and Chinese calligraphy.

Cultivator (detail) (2022) by Kelly AkashiSan José Museum of Art

Explore Kelly Akashi: Formations at the San José Museum of Art. The LA-born artist is known for her materially hybrid works, combining mediums like photo, glassblowing, bronze casting, and stone carving, creating work that explores her family's internmentment experience.

Collage of Asia Art Archive in America. (2020) by Asia Art Archive in AmericaAsia Art Archive in America

4. Read works from AAPI activists, poets and storytellers

Find inspiration in reading shortlist curated by the Asia Art Archive in America. Read think pieces, conversations, prose, and poetry work that highlight decades of Asian American and Asian Diasporic movement work, and celebrate API women of today, yesterday and the future.

Karho and his father in Mee Sum Cafe (2020-10-07) by Steven YenWelcome to Chinatown

5. Emerge undivided

Joining the hub this year, connect with organizations amplifying multi-dimensional AAPI voices and experiences: Asian American Arts AllianceAsian Arts InitiativesKearny Street Workshop, and Welcome to Chinatown. Learn more about their collective work, and how they're building and supporting communities.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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