Event, Literary

Book Reading with Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman and her new book On Sal Mal Lane. Photo by Peter Hurley.

Monday, May 20, 2013

1 — 2 p.m.

Smithsonian Latino Center
Conference Room, Suite 7042
Capital Gallery, 7th Floor

600 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
Google Map

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza

Free and open to the public.

Ru Freeman’s new novel On Sal Mal Lane is a tour de force imagining of a quiet street in Sri Lanka just before the start of the country’s tumultuous civil war. Named “Best New Book of the Week” by Publisher’s Weekly, called “stupendous” by Smithsonian’s own BookDragon reviewer Terry Hong, the novel is a crucially important contribution to our understanding of the war and the human lives within it. Come hear Ru Freeman read from her novel for a Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center special Asian Pacific American Heritage Month seminar.

Crafts, Event, Family, Literary, Performance

Volunteer for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013

Handmade storybook activity. Photo taken during the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day 2011.

We are looking for volunteers who will be in the Washington, D.C. metro area on the weekend of May 4-5 to help with our upcoming two-day Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Festival. The festival is inspired by two new exhibitions: I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story and Nam Jun Paik: Global Visionary. This two-day kid-friendly event includes interactive performances, hands-on activities, presentations by local authors, conversations with a curator, gallery tours, a scavenger hunt, and much more.

Click here to view the full schedule
Click here to download the flyer (PDF)

Examples of tasks we need help with on May 4:

  • Talking to the public about their experiences during the festival and using a new evaluation system with iPads
  • Handmade book projects (view photos)
  • Video recording children and participants sharing their handmade books
  • Monitoring a video presentation station

If you think you would like to help out on either day, please contact Lydia Alcock at AlcockL@si.edu as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to forward this page to friends, family, and colleagues who may be interested in helping out.

May 4, 2013

I Want the Wide American Earth
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 4pm
Location: National Museum of American History
Address: 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Metro: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle
Website: http://apa.si.edu/heritage/

May 5, 2013

PaikBot Family Day
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 5pm
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Address: 8th and F Streets, NW
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown
Website: Click here

Academic, Event, Lecture, Literary

Event: Book Talk with Dr. Nalini Natarajan

Friday, April 5th, 2013

12:30 p.m. — 1:30 p.m.

CFCH Conference Room
Capital Gallery, 2nd Floor

600 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
Google Map

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza

Free and open to the public.

The Indian American Heritage Project at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH) present a brown-bag book talk by Dr. Nalini Natarajan, Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on her new book Atlantic Gandhi: The Mahatma Overseas.

Atlantic Gandhi examines Gandhi’s experience as a traveler moving from a classic colony, India, to the plantation and mining society of South Africa and argues that his diasporic life resonates with recent perspectives on the Atlantic, as an ocean that not just transported the victims of a greedy plantation system, but also saw the ferment of revolutionary ideas.

Related Links:

Academic, Event, Literary, Performance

Recap and Video: Between Image & Word Symposium

click image to view more photos

The Edgar P. Richardson Symposium Asian American Portraits of Encounter: Between Image & Word was held on April 14, 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery’s McEvoy Auditorium and featured readings by seven renowned Asian Pacific American writers: Bao Phi, Marianne Villanueva, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Kazim Ali, Anna Kazumi Stahl, David Henry Hwang, and Garrett Hongo.

 Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis

The purpose of the symposium was eloquently expressed by Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, editor of the Asian American Literary Review, in his opening remarks:

“There’s greater production of Asian American arts and letters now than ever before, but I think that it’s easy to see the writers as if they’re at their separate tables at a giant book fair, or artists at their respective galleries, sort of as a chain of islands of disparate talents… And the impetus for this event is to view Asian American arts and letters as a living body, a living community that needs nurturing and provoking, precisely by means of exchange and conversation, and we hope today’s event provides these sorts of exchange and dialogue.”

Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian APA Program, also gave remarks via video that compliment the mission of the symposium:

“…what you do, what you write, what you create, is of great importance and relevance because the meaning of your work far exceeds the fact of its existence.   Your work captures the particularities of this time and allows future generations to admire creative expression and respect critical interventions. The idea of today’s event grew out of the recognition that art and literature possess profound powers, and the encounter between Asian American writers, as they respond to Asian American portraiture, could incubate critical acts of creativity. “

The four-hour symposium also featured the artwork of Roger Shimomura, Hey Yeon Nam, CYJO, Shizu Saldamando, Hong Chun Zhang, Tam Tran, and Satomi Shirai, all of which are currently on display in the Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibition. Each of the seven participating writers was paired with a visual portrait from the exhibition and asked to create an original literary work in response. Presented in the form of poems, short stories, and plays, these response pieces explored themes of identity, immigration, xenophobia, Asian American stereotypes, and cultural dissonance. The writers also shared personal anecdotes and other works from their oeuvre with similar thematic content. Ranging from comedic send-ups of youth culture to deeply heartfelt narrations of the artists’ own creative and personal journeys, the great diversity of works presented that afternoon provided a bridge between the visual and literary arts, and hopefully prompted some thought-provoking discussions on what it means to be Asian American today.

Watch the webcast video below or on our Ustream page.

Between Image & Word was organized and presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Asian American Literary Review with generous funding from the Commissioner Edgar P. Richardson Symposium Fund of the National Portrait Gallery and OCA-DC.

Related Links:

Event, Literary

Between Image & Word Symposium

Between Image & Word Symposium

Update April 19, 2012: This event has passed. You can view photos and watch the recorded webcast.

Saturday, April 14, 2012
11:15am — 5 p.m.

Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium
National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Related Exhibition:
Asian American Portraits of Encounter

Free and open to the public.
Book signing after the symposium.

Asian American art and literature offer a collective portrait of Asian American identity and culture, one that reflects on lived experience and expresses its textures. The Edgar P. Richardson Symposium Asian American Portraits of Encounter Between Image & Word brings these critical efforts to light by staging conversations and encounters between acclaimed Asian American writers and the artwork of Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter, the exhibition by the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. The symposium will feature original literary work composed in response to the themes and feelings raised by the exhibition.

Come hear readings by writers David Henry Hwang, Garrett Hongo, Bao Phi, Marianne Villanueva, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Kazim Ali, and Anna Kazumi Stahl.

National Portrait Gallery curators will give a guided tour of the exhibition that includes artwork by CYJO, Hye Yeon Nam, Shizu Saldamando, Roger Shimomura, Satomi Shirai, Tam Tran, and Hong Chun Zhang.

Academic, Event, Film, HomeSpun, Literary, South Asian

SALTAF 2011 – South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival


Saturday, November 5, 2011
10 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Baird Auditorium
National Museum of Natural History
1000 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
Google Map

Metro: Federal Triangle

Free and open to the public.

Update: This event has passed, you can read the recap and view pictures.

For ten years, the South Asian Literary and Theatre Arts Festival (SALTAF) has been an annual celebration of South Asian creative talent, showcasing the work of established and emerging artists and connecting them to a wide audience in the Washington, D.C. area. The festival emerged from the book club created by the Network of South Asian Professionals D.C. (NetSAP-DC) and has blossomed with its partnership for the last eight years with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP).

Featured Literary Artists:

  • Aatish Taseer (Noon)
  • Mitali Perkins (Bamboo People)
  • Nina Godiwala (Suits: A Woman on Wall Street)
  • Shailja Patel (Migritude)
  • Roksana Badruddoja (Eyes of a Storm)

The festival will open with a screening of the film The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan to be followed by a conversation with the director, Phil Grabsky.

This event is co-sponsored by NetSAP-DC.

Program Schedule

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 Film Screening of The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan (2011)
11:45 – 12:15 p.m. Discussion with director Phil Grabsky
12:15 – 1:00 Break
1:00 – 1:15 Opening Remarks
1:15- 2:00 Discussion with author Aatish Taseer
2:00 – 3:00 Discussion with authors Nina Godiwalla and Mitali Perkins
3:00 – 3:30 Book Signing
3:30 – 3:45 Reading by scholar/author Roksana Badruddoja
3:45 – 4:00 Performance by Shailja Patel
4:00 – 4:30 Discussion with Roksana Badruddoja and Shailja Patel
4:30 – 5:30 Book Signing
Event, Film, Lecture, Literary

The Hip-hop/Kung Fu/Afro-Asian Connection: A Panel Discussion

Click for more photos

From left: Nelson George, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Barry Cole, and Konrad Ng. Click image for more photos.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

4 p.m.

Meyer Auditorium
Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive at 12th St SW
Washington, DC 20013

Closest Metro: Smithsonian
Free and open to the public.

Following the screening of Drunken Master at 2 p.m., join a panel of experts at 4 p.m. for a lively discussion about the long-running relationship between martial arts movies and rap music.


Barry Cole, member of Hop Fu (Hip-hop meets Kung Fu)
Nelson George, filmmaker and author of Hip Hop America
Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word artist based in Brooklyn

This event is cosponsored with the Freer Gallery of Art. It is presented in conjunction with:

•  The exhibition RACE: Are We So Different? on view at the National Museum of Natural History through January 2, 2012.
•  Part of the series Let’s Talk About RACE – at the Smithsonian
•  Part of the series Sixteenth Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival
•  Part of the series The Hip-hop/Kung Fu Connection

Freer kung fu / hip hop event