Wing on Wo & Co.'s The W.O.W Project and China Residencies are proud to announce the resident and four finalists for The 店面 Residency, a six-month residency in NYC's Chinatown to create a storefront display for Lunar New Year. Our jury for this year: Tomie Arai, Evan Louis, Gary & Lorraine Lum, An Xiao Mina, Juliet Phillips, and Ryan Wong, chose the following five finalists that stood out from the 30 project proposals we received.
"Cut Out: W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater uses the Wing On Wo window as a shadow puppet theater activating stories about Chinatown, sweeping out evil, building home and safety, and overcoming in 2018. The stage will transition between a screen looping short shadow puppet films devised by the artist or community member, and a mulberry paper screen that will be activated with live performances during programs."
Lunar New Year is a time when community members celebrate the welcoming of a prosperous and lucky new year. Storefronts (店面 in Chinese, pronounced diàn miàn in Mandarin and dinmin in Cantonese) hang red banners with new year’s wishes, Chinese lanterns light up the streets, and families gather to watch lion dancers perform. As the oldest operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Wing on Wo & Co. is a center for community gathering that aims to pay tribute to the rich history of its community.
For the second 店面 Residency, we are calling for artists to create a window display for the storefront at 26 Mott Street in celebration of the lunar new year and the year of the dog. This is a funded half-year long residency from October 1 - March 12, 2018. There are no restrictions on artists’ mediums, age, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or any other criteria. Visual artists, writers, poets, activists, filmmakers, curators, designers, architects, makers & tinkerers and more are all invited to apply. We only require that applicants be based in the New York area with a preference given to those who currently reside in Chinatown. We strongly encourage members of the Asian diaspora and those with a socially engaged practice to apply.
The 店面 Storefront Residency Covers:
$1,000 artist honorarium
$800 for materials and production
Studio space in Wing on Wo & Co’s basement studio, equipped with silkscreen facilities*
Exhibition space (storefront window) to exhibit proposed project, to be shown February 12 - March 12, 2018.
Project support from China Residencies and The W.O.W Project
3 visits from curators and arts professionals, selected by The W.O.W Project in accordance with the artist’s practice
Artist Talk (optional)
Opening reception party for the unveiling of the window display
Closing dinner with program partners at Junzi Kitchen
Note this residency does not provide housing, meals, or transportation costs.
The deadline for the application is midnight EST on Thursday, August 31st. Apply online here. Note that application fees are not required, however we are requesting a suggested donation of USD $25 to support administrative costs for this initiative.
Our jury members for the 2nd 店面 Storefront Residency are Lorraine & Gary Lum, Juliet Philips, Tomie Arai, Ryan Wong, Melissa Liu, An Xiao Mina, and Evan Louis. They will review all proposals and notify finalists by September 11, 2017. The selected resident will be announced on September 18, 2017.
*Please note that Wing on Wo & Co is a family business and therefore we are unable to provide unlimited access to the studio space during the 5 month residency period. The schedule will be determined by the selected resident and the Wing on Wo & Co family to accommodate the needs of those involved.
For more information, check out this interview with first 店面 Residency artist-in-residence Melissa Liu.
This residency is in part possible thanks to the support of Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
As Wing On Wo.’s inaugural Lunar New Year 店面 Artist in Residence, Melissa Liu is creating a window installation that will be filled with handmade red envelopes (紅包, known as lai see in Cantonese, hong bao in Mandarin) and short-form oral history responses collected from members of Asian Communities in New York City and beyond. In the weeks leading up to Lunar New Year (January 28, 2017), anyone identified with the Asian Diaspora celebrating the Lunar New Year is invited to participate in workshops organized by Melissa in collaboration with The W.O.W. Project, local artists, and community members and groups. Participants will have the opportunity to design and make their own red envelopes, in which they will place a question to share with a family member or friend from an older generation and collect a written response from. Participants will also receive basic training on how to conduct an oral history interview within their community, and have a safe space to discuss issues that Asian communities face in today’s political moment.
Through her window display project, Melissa hopes that the exchange of questions through red envelopes between younger and older generations will spark deeper conversations and moments of empathy that can help bridge intergenerational understanding in Chinatowns and Asian American communities through shared Lunar New Year traditions, and also result in the sharing of stories, experiences, and memories from the Asian Diaspora with locals and street passersby.
CHINATOWN DIASPORA: RED ENVELOPE ORAL HISTORIES; written by Melissa Liu
I have always associated Lunar New Year with Red Envelopes (hong bao in Mandarin, lai see in Cantonese). As a first generation Chinese-American, I would receive them from my parents and grandparents each year, as well as from relatives that occasionally visited my family in Irvine, California. Even in the years when my family was too busy to go out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, my sister and I could still count on receiving our red envelopes, and with that, making calls to relatives. As I approach the age when I will have to give, and not receive, red envelopes, I’ve begun to realize the cultural significance of this tradition. Red envelopes are a vessel for the exchange of goodwill between generations.
In conceptualizing my project Chinatown Diaspora and the “Red Envelope Oral Histories” for my Lunar New Year Window Display residency at W.O.W Project, I wanted to understand what being “Asian American” and “Chinese American” means in the current moment, learn from the different perspectives that exist in the East and Southeast Asian Diaspora, and contribute my work as a social justice advocate and creative practitioner to conversations around these moments. With political events in the past year that have polarized many within Asian communities, oftentimes within families, I’ve wondered how we might hold space for learning and non-confrontational exchange of ideas in the communities that I am part of. Lunar New Year is a time to explore this, as it is a widely celebrated holiday in many Asian countries that centers around families reuniting and reflecting.
I developed this oral history project from the realization that there is often an understanding and cultural gap between older generations who grew up in different circumstances and those of us who have been raised as “Asian Americans.” I am using my artist residency as an opportunity to empower myself and my peers to have meaningful dialogue with our families and older community members in the hope of bridging this gap, while also giving ourselves agency to tell our own stories and define what being Asian means. Oral history is a practice rooted in listening and privileging a narrator in a conversation, and therefore a tool that lends itself naturally to this work.
Through the workshops and conversations I’ve held over the past month, I am conducting oral histories while offering basic training to participants in the hopes that they will be empowered to speak to those within their families and communities, which will lead to moments of empathy that help bridge intergenerational understanding. My longterm goal is for those who have been part of this project to continue creating safe spaces to discuss issues that Asian communities have confronted in the past and face in today’s political moment. The window display at Wing On Wo & Co. is a place to share what has come out of a series of oral history workshops I have held with participants who identify with the Asian Diaspora.
Though red envelopes containing money are passed from those of married age and older to younger generations, I have encouraged participants to reverse this exchange by giving their handmade red envelopes to someone from an older generation in their family or community. But rather than money, the red envelope will be exchanged with a question, opening up an opportunity for a conversation to happen.
MORE ABOUT CHINATOWN DIASPORA
Chinatown Diaspora is a collaborative and ongoing project that comes from the idea that “Chinatowns” have existed throughout the world as centers for Asian immigrants to come together in the absence of their home country. In addition to immigrants from provinces throughout China, chinatowns include those from other Asian countries—such as Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. However, children of immigrants often leave these communities with no intention of returning. Chinatown Diaspora explores and unpacks the stories of immigrants who have left their ancestral country, and generations beyond who have left the Chinatown in their new home.
Melissa Liu 劉慧慈 is a cultural worker, activist, oral historian, and social sculptor, and a first-generation Chinese American. Melissa has worked as an arts administrator in Los Angeles, Paris, and New York with institutions and organizations such as The Laundromat Project, Columbia University School of the Arts, Hammer Museum, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Terra Foundation for American Art, and The Getty Foundation. She has organized and facilitated workshops for the College Art Association and Kelly Street Garden Bronx, and was part of Arts & Labor and its Alternative Economies working group. She is currently part of the working board of Museum Hue, and a longtime advocate for better representation of communities of color in cultural institutions. As a social sculptor and oral historian, Melissa explores culture, cuisine, identity, and place in the Asian Diaspora through cooking, writing, artmaking.