Jan 19

Chinese American Art & Culture

Written by Steve on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Filed under:culture, education, General, music |
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Heart Sutra: Calligraphy by Wendy Lee

The San Diego Chinese Art Society recently presented the Thirteenth Annual San Diego International Music & Arts Festival. Sometimes we tend to forget about Chinese who have emigrated to other countries but continue to keep in touch with their culture in a new environment. The San Diego Chinese community has many organizations dedicated to keeping their ancestral culture alive, and the events these organizations hold are supported not just by Chinese Americans but by the San Diego residents from all ethnic groups.

The musical event featured both Chinese and non-Chinese artists, many of them quite famous throughout the world. Unfortunately, flash photography was not allowed and I was sitting in the balcony, so my shots did not turn out that well. Some of the artists that performed were the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra (with many Chinese American teens), High School Junior Linda Wang (one of the top young pianists in the US), world renowned baritone Charles Johnson, internationally renowned erhu virtuoso Karen Hua-Qi Han 韩华奇, who is the youngest person to ever receive a Masters Degree in Performing Arts with Honors from China’s best music academy, the “Central Conservatory of Music”,and played erhu on the soundtracks for The Last Emperor, Memoirs of a Geisha, Mulan 2, The Joy Luck Club, Anna and the King, and Kung Fu Panda, Naruwan Taiko Drumming Group 那魯灣太鼓, sponsored by the Taiwanese American Community Center), martial arts expert and stuntman Alfred Hsing, Dr. Weihui Mao on piano and Suli Xue on violin, both music professors at the University of Southern California. Professor Xue originally graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Outside the concert hall, there was also an art exhibition and I was able to take some photos of the artwork along with a few of the artists. I’d like to share them with everyone. These are not famous art works; they are painted by Chinese amateurs keeping alive and sharing their culture with the community.

My main purpose for this post was to let our mainland Chinese bloggers have a better understanding of Chinese American society. San Diego has a very active Chinese American community. I’ve known most of the artists for 15 or more years and the ladies involved with this art show also form the leadership of many other Chinese American societies. I find that the immigrants have the strongest ties to their homeland, make sure their children learn to speak and read Chinese, and usually involve them in some sort of Chinese cultural pursuit. Some children keep up the traditions, but most become “dis-oriented”, as they like to put it. Their basic moral structure remains Chinese but their overall outlook is a Chinese American blend. However, the generation after them tends to be almost purely American.

San Diego has an old Chinatown but these days, Chinese Americans do not live in any particular part of the city. My neighborhood is probably 10-15% Chinese but primarily a mix of many nationalities, so the cultural opportunities for everyone to enjoy are rich and varied.


This was painted by Jennifer Ding, a local 17 year old girl.


Daisy Kuan is one of the leading Chinese American artists in the southern California area. Many of the artists whose works were on display are her pupils. She is also a Director of the San Diego Chinese Art Society and founder of this show.


Wendy Lee is also a Director of the SD Chinese Art Society.


Polly Liew (with her husband) is in charge of Public Relations for the Society.


Mary Mao with her landscape painting.


A sample of various China related art themes at the show.


Daisy Kuan’s scene of a mountain waterfall.


Portrait of a young girl.


Mythological goddess (sorry about the glare)

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4 Responses to “Chinese American Art & Culture”

  1. yo Says:

    Good post Steve!

  2. Steve Says:

    Thanks, yo! I realize it won’t get a lot of comments but I wanted to put it out there so people can get a feel for how emigrants maintain their culture in a new country.

  3. TonyP4 Says:

    This blog is ‘culture desert’. Haha!

    Steve, I do enjoy it a lot. After work, food, shelter, art/music is one of the important desires in life.

  4. Alfred Hsing Says:

    Great post! It was a great event!

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