Futures Ever Arriving

In collaboration with Pearl River Mart and Chelsea Market, Asian American Arts Alliance presented the group exhibition “Futures Ever Arriving" from May 6 – June 27, 2021.

niu mo wang by Jia SungAsian American Arts Alliance

Mapping AAPI futures

Curated by Sophia Park, the exhibition title was inspired by Can Xue’s novel, Love in the New Millennium, which paints a picture of a hidden region in China where villagers shapeshift, impart the knowledge of life-giving medicine from the Earth, and protect each other to survive.

Founded as a “friendship store” in 1971, Pearl River Mart is the iconic Asian emporium. From home furnishings to fashion to snacks and everything in between, the store features one-of-a-kind items imported from Asia, as well as innovative merchandise designed and created by Asian Americans. A beloved destination for people from all over the globe, Pearl River has become symbolic of the uniqueness, authenticity, and multiculturalism of New York City.

Futures Ever Arriving featured five AAPI artists: Raymond Hwang, Christina Yuna Ko, Jennifer G. Lai, Kim Sandara, and Jia Sung. When brought together, the artists’ works bring forth a small vision for a future inclusive of all races and nationalities.

“Each artist’s work is playing a part in the formation of our futures during this critical time of uncertainty, and the hope of the exhibition is to bring a sense of warmth and care to those in our communities,” said Sophia Park, curator.

Ray Hwang at Pearl River Mart by Ray HwangAsian American Arts Alliance

Stopping Asian Hate

With the recent increase in violence and racism against the AAPI community across the country, conversations around safety and survival are key to ensuring that everyone in these communities can thrive.

"Now more than ever, our city needs the arts to heal and move forward together," said Pearl River President, Joanne Kwong. 

"The Asian American community is filled with artists and creatives, both emerging and established, who have stories and perspectives that need to be heard, especially at a time when we feel both invisible and under attack. This AAPI Heritage Month, we could not be prouder to partner with our dear friends at A4 to present the exciting work of five emerging artists."

sleeping in reminiscing about yourself as a Consolation prize in a race with No escape by Raymond HwangAsian American Arts Alliance

Ray Hwang

Hwang is an artist living and working in New York City. As a second generation Asian American, he draws from the estranged relationships within ourselves.

"My work often draws from the fallacy and inadequacy of memory, and how it relates to themes of family and violence within my second-generation Asian American experience," says Hwang. "Throughout my paintings, forms are rendered with differing levels of atmospheric energy that challenge the idea of what is concrete. I choose to embrace the inaccuracies that reveal themselves afterwards because I believe there’s a reason our minds remember things a certain way.”

Jia Sung at Pearl River Mart by Jia SungAsian American Arts Alliance

apocalypse hymn (dou'e yuan) by Jia Sung

Jia Sung is an artist and educator, born in Minnesota, bred in Singapore.

six realms (wheel) by Jia SungAsian American Arts Alliance

Tapping into Eastern mythology

Sung, who just published a full tarot deck and guidebook, was interested in reimagining the major arcana—seen here as the Wheel—with Chinese mythology and the canonic 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West.

Jennifer G. Lai at Pearl River Mart by Jennifer G. LaiAsian American Arts Alliance

Jennifer G. Lai

Jennifer G. Lai is an audio producer, poet, and visual artist based in New York.

you choose, you lose by Jennifer LaiAsian American Arts Alliance

Deconstructing Racism

Lai's pieces often use vintage National Geographic magazines from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s — a time when most of their photos promoted colonialist or racist logic.

"My process involves cutting, stitching, and blending: over decades, countries, landscapes, flora, fauna, and communities of people. All of my work is analog collage, not digital.I decontextualize. Then, I reconstruct."

Kim Sandara at Pearl River MartAsian American Arts Alliance

Kim Sandara

Kim Sandara is a bi genderqueer, Lao/Vietnamese American, artist from Northern Virginia and now based in Brooklyn, New York.

Kim Sandara_Project 270-199Asian American Arts Alliance

Processing historic trauma

Sandara presented part of their "270 Million Project" series, a commitment to create 270 ink paintings resembling Rorschach tests, listening to only Lao music. Each painting represents 1 million American cluster bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War.

Christina Yuna Ko at Pearl River MartAsian American Arts Alliance

Christina Yuna Ko

Christina Yuna Ko is a Korean American artist living and working in Queens, New York.

“I attempt to demarcate the visual lexicon born from the cultural inheritance of a multi-generational Asian American experience through paintings and installations,” says Ko.

Christina Yuna Ko_Plastic Tumblr Stained Glass WindowsAsian American Arts Alliance

Caring for the inner child

Punctuated by soothing pastel pinks and baby blues, Ko’s sybaritic aesthetic evokes the soft tunes of vaporwave and lo-fi, genres of music where nostalgia for the Orient lends an exotic detail to chill beats.

Meh, clean your laundry and get married, Christina Yuna Ko, From the collection of: Asian American Arts Alliance
Pretty Dinner Table Tray (양은 쟁반), Christina Yuna Ko, From the collection of: Asian American Arts Alliance
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Credits: Story

Futures Ever Arriving, curated by Sophia Park, was presented by Asian American Arts Alliance and Pearl River Mart at Chelsea Market from May 6 – June 27, 2021.

Credits: All media
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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