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Press Releases

"REFLECTIONS/REFRACTIONS" LITERARY SHOW SET FOR JANM : Literary Artists Inspired by Media Art at "AT FIRST LIGHT" Special Program Sept. 19 in Little Tokyo
August 29, 2019

In a special program organized by Visual Communications—the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts organization—and the Japanese American National Museum, ten locally based literary artists will perform original works inspired by media arts works featured in the ongoing VC Founders’ photographic exhibition, At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America on Thursday, September 19, in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

The special program, “Reflections/Refractions: 10 Works Inspired by At First Light,” aims to consider the impact of the still images and artifacts contained in the exhibition through the impressions and creative interpretations of Asian Pacific American literary and performing artists. Inspired in part by a unique literary challenge published in June 2019 in the New York Times’ “Books” section, “Reflections/Refractions” draws upon the creativity, inspiration, and imagination of artists whose specialty is not perceived by most to be associated with visual or cinematic arts.

“‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ or so the saying goes,” remarked Eddie Wong, Visual Communications co-founder and co-organizer of the At First Light photo exhibition who was inspired to organize “Reflections/Refractions” with poet/essayist Amy Uyematsu and VC staff member Abraham Ferrer. “But as the images and artifacts featured throughout the At First Light exhibition make clear, pictures can inspire new ways of interpreting our lives and experiences in America. We’re thrilled to enhance our ongoing partnership of At First Light with our friends and colleagues at the Japanese ...


July 24, 2019

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will present its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, August 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free.

Craft activities will include origami, shave ice suncatchers, and JANM’s ever-popular paper hat making. Visitors will also be able to sample saataa andaagii (deep-fried Okinawan pastries), participate in a bon odori community dance, and enjoy two book readings. Kishin Daiko will perform, as will gayageum player Joyce Kwon.

Exhibitions on view for Natsumatsuri include At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America, on view through October 20, and JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community.

Following is the complete schedule for the 2019 Natsumatsuri Family Festival.


Summer Photo Booth: Grab some fun props from Nerdbot and take a souvenir photo with friends and family!

Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Learn to fold a yukata (summer kimono), popular attire during Japanese summer festivals.

Summertime Suncatchers: Create a decorative shave ice suncatcher to hang in your window!

Paper Hats: A JANM summer tradition! Design your own unique paper hat to keep you cool while you have fun in the sun.

Okinawan Treats: Sample fresh saataa andaagii (Okinawan deep-fried pastries). One per person, while supplies last. Express lane for members!

Scavenger Hunt: ...


May 14, 2019

At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America, a multi-media exhibition that explores and celebrates the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity, will open at the Japanese American National Museum on May 25 and remain on view through October 20, 2019. The exhibition is a co-production of JANM and Visual Communications (VC), the first Asian Pacific American media organization in the country, which formed in Los Angeles in 1970 to capture and cultivate the newfound unity that was Asian Pacific America.

At First Light chronicles the transformation of the un-American categorization of “Oriental” to the political identity of “Asian Pacific American” that rejected racist stereotypes, stood up for human rights, recovered lost histories, and created new cultural expressions. The exhibition draws from hundreds of thousands of photographs and more than 100 videos in VC”s collections. In the present-day climate of xenophobia and racial profiling, At First Light seeks to strengthen current resistance and resolve by evoking the legacy of Asian Pacific American activism.

Rooted in the documentary tradition and recording the flash points of social justice as they unfolded, the activists of VC were a constant presence, with cameras in hand, at both demonstrations and cultural celebrations. The newfound consciousness and activism they witnessed and encouraged led to a political awakening that overhauled how Asians in the United States were viewed—and, more importantly, how they viewed themselves.



The first Asian American anti-Vietnam War march in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, organized by Asian Americans for Peace, May 11, 1972. Photo by Robert A. Nakamura. Visual Communications Photographic Archive.



The first Asian American anti-Vietnam War march in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, organized by Asian Americans for Peace, May 11, 1972. Photo by Robert A. Nakamura. Visual Communications Photographic Archive.


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