At St. Pete James Museum, ‘Far East to Far West’ celebrates migration amid migrant crisis | Tampa

At St. Pete James Museum, ‘Far East to Far West’ celebrates migration amid migrant crisis |  Tampa

Click to enlarge In an exhibition

Photography by Jennifer Ring

In the James Museum’s “Far East to Far West” exhibit, a bulletin board invites guests to visualize their ancestors by placing red pins on a world map.

In English and Chinese, the words of the late Hung Lui greet visitors before they enter the James Museum’s special exhibition gallery, “We Are All From Somewhere Else.”

Nearby, a table, map and bulletin board invite guests to visualize their ancestors and share their stories by pushing red pins onto a world map.

Pins are mostly pushed to parts of Europe, the United States and China, but a few pins are found in Africa, India, the Philippines and beyond.

James poses four questions to museum visitors at the entrance to the exhibition “Far East to West: The US-China Frontier,” which runs through January 28.

  • What words or questions come to mind when you think about your ancestors’ experiences—or your own personal experiences—with immigration or emigration?
  • How has immigration or emigration shaped your family?
  • What question would you like to ask your ancestors?
  • What traditions, objects, recipes or other treasures has your family kept over the years, no matter where you live?
Click to enlarge To the right of the map, guests pin their family stories on hooks on the bulletin board.  - Photography by Jennifer Ring

Photography by Jennifer Ring

To the right of the map, guests pin their family stories on hooks on the bulletin board.

Someone asked their ancestors for the family pound cake recipe. Another asked them why they moved.

“Every New Year’s Day, my mother makes pork and sauerkraut,” one person shared in answer to a question about traditions and recipes, “I personally find it disgusting, but I appreciate the tradition.”

After reflecting on their own migration stories, guests enter the James Gallery for special exhibitions. Mian Seto’s film “Golden Mountain, Arrival in San Francisco, 1865” welcomes them. The painting depicts Chinese immigrants on a ship bound for America. They appear cheerful, exhausted, curious and ready for adventure.

Seto’s “Golden Mountain” prompts visitors to think about the Chinese immigrants who crossed the Pacific Ocean to California in the late 1850s through the 1930s. How was their trip? What kind of life was waiting for them?

The exhibition From Far East to West answers these questions through a collection of paintings, artifacts, historical photographs, newspaper engravings and exhibition texts.

Lowe — who said, “We’re all from somewhere else” — is one of five contemporary Chinese American artists whose work is showing at The James. Chinese-born Liu (1948-2021), considered by some to be the greatest Chinese painter in the United States, is best known for her paintings based on historical Chinese photographs. Like Liu, additional contemporary Chinese American artists who emerged in Far East to West immigrated to the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. They all draw inspiration from history and cultural identity.

Together, paintings by Mian Situ, Ji Wei Zhou, and Benjamin Wu depict Chinese immigrants prospecting for gold and operating trading posts during the California Gold Rush, mingling with tourists, selling toys, selling newspapers, and celebrating the Lunar New Year in early Chinatowns; practicing medicine; And family business management.

Click to enlarge Guests see paintings of Chinese immigrants mining gold and working on the transcontinental railroad along with actual mining tubs, ax heads, railroad spikes, spirit bottles, and opium pipes used by Chinese immigrants.  - Photography by Jennifer Ring

Photography by Jennifer Ring

Guests see paintings of Chinese immigrants mining gold and working on the transcontinental railroad along with actual mining tubs, ax heads, railroad spikes, spirit bottles, and opium pipes used by Chinese immigrants.

James pairs these paintings with historical artifacts and photographs from the Chinese American Historical Society and Colorado History and its permanent collection. Guests see paintings of Chinese immigrants mining gold and working on the transcontinental railroad along with actual mining tubs, ax heads, railroad spikes, spirit bottles, and opium pipes used by Chinese immigrants.

History comes to life at the James Museum From Far East to West. As viewers progress through the exhibit, they learn who these immigrants were, why they came, what their journey was like, and how they lived in the United States.

When visitors return to the gallery’s entrance/exit, they leave with what remains of Lowe’s quote, “We are all from somewhere else. Therefore, we are all refugees of some kind, immigrants or immigrants. We carry ourselves, the ghosts of our ancestors, wherever we have been or gone.” We go to it, and we follow them wherever their images take us.

Centuries later, when looking at this fine art collection depicting the journeys of Chinese immigrants in the mid-19th century, it’s hard not to think of the Latin American immigrants crossing the Darien River today. Like the Chinese immigrants who came to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, they come in search of better opportunities than their homeland provides. What kind of reception will they receive? How will they shape this United States?

The James Museum of Wildlife and Western Art in St. Petersburg is open Wednesday through Monday, 10am-5pm ($23) and 10am-8pm on Tuesdays ($10). It continues until January 28, 2024.

Click to enlarge At St. Pete James Museum,

Sign up for Creative Loafing newsletters.

Follow us: Apple News | Google News | News Break | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS feed

(tags for translation)James Museum of Western Art and Wildlife

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *