For me, the only solution lies in a paradigm shift: the recognition that we all are protagonists in the creation of a new cultural topography and a new social order, one in which we are "others" and we need the other "others" to exist. Hybridity is no longer up for discussion. It is a demographic, racial, social, and cultural fact. The real tasks ahead of us are to embrace a more fluid and tolerant notion of personal and national identity, and to develop models of peaceful coexistence and multilateral cooperation across nationality, race, gender, and religion. We need to learn each others' languages, histories, art, and cultural traditions.
-- Guillermo Gomez-Pena, The New World Border
finding family stories is an Arts Partnership Project that was initiated as a three-year project by the Japanese American National Museum in 1995. The project is based on the premise that cultural institutions representing different ethnic communities in Los Angeles can learn from each other both organizationally and culturally by conceptualizing and working together on a project. Each year the project culminates with an exhibition, and extensive educational and public programs. The exhibition features the work of contemporary artists who explore cultural identity through the interpretation and incorporation of family stories and memories in their work.
The current and second phase of finding family stories features partnerships with The California African American Museum, the Chinese American Museum and Self Help Graphics & Art, Inc., and culminates with an exhibition in March 2003. We invite Web viewers to use this site to experience and understand the collaborative and interactive process that artists, curators, and others participate in to bring works of art to life and create the curatorial context for them within the Museum. The wide range of institutions, artists, and media included provide insight into the ways in which "family" takes shape within different artistic visions.
It is our hope that the Japanese American National Museum and the partnering institutions will continue to take an active role in cultivating and maintaining the cross-cultural relationships initiated by finding family stories. We also hope that the people who see the various finding family stories components will not be passive viewers to this collaboration, but will be encouraged to investigate their own histories and share them with future generations, regardless of which community they belong.
-Claudia Sobral, Director, Arts Partnership Project
Project History -- Information on the history and goals of finding family stories.
March 2003 Exhibition -- View works of art in the latest phase of the project
Digital Gallery of Past Exhibits -- See and learn about past finding family stories exhibitions.
FFS in the Classroom -- Projects for you to do, bibliography, and information on the Home Project.
Acknowledgements -- This project is a collaborative effort, and we would like to acknowlege everyone involved.