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The Visual Sematics of Diaspora: Pok Chi Lau

January 17, 2007 - April 1, 2007

Diaspora: Dreams of the Golden Mountain

The Visual Semantics of Diaspora, three exhibitions in conjunction with the Diaspora Project and Conference presented by the Berman Center for Jewish Studies.

Black and white photographs. Artist-educator Lau was born in Hong Kong and educated in the United States. He is currently associate professor, Design Department, at the University of Kansas School of Fine Arts. He has documented the Chinese Diaspora for three decades. The exhibition depicts Asian Americans, the struggles of their ancestors, and the transformations of race and country.

“In my professional work I have focused on contemporary culture and social transformations brought about by human migration.  Through photography, writing and video, I seek to illuminate the impact of global migration upon the private lives and social environments of the Chinese people, both in the Chinese homeland and in their adopted environs.  To understand the Chinese Diaspora is to acknowledge the significance of human patterns of global migration as they shape individual experiences and emerging cultures.

“The Cantonese Chinese have nicknamed America Gum Sahn or “The Golden Mountain.”  I have covered geographic areas from older Chinatowns in North America to Midwestern small towns, and Chinese settlements on the Mexico-California border.  In China, my efforts are concentrated in the south from which most Chinese Americans and their ancestors emigrated.  I have captured periods of recent Chinese history that have led to major migratory movements within China and abroad.

“My work addresses the issues of cultural identity, Asian-American ethnicity, human and cultural diversity and inter-racial relationships.  For the the last thirty years I have studied and portrayed the effects of the population explosion and the resultant political and economic turmoil, changes in land, culture, race, and the creation of new values and identities.  Centered on Chinese-American issues, the work uses photography to challenge the viewer to visually interpret its content.

“By portraying persons in mixed-race relationships and their descendants throughout North America, I hope to encourage viewers to contemplate how history, politics, and fate play a part in our lives.  I wish to inspire others to make an effort to value one another, accept our differences, and embrace diversity in our multi-cultural world.  In doing so, we move closer to understanding the complex and evolving dimensions of the human experience.”

-Pok Chi Lau

For more information on the Diaspora Project and Conference schedule through the Berman Center for Jewish Studies, click here. 

GALLERY TALK: Pok Chi Lau: “Visual Semantics of Diaspora”: Spring 2007

EXHIBITION: Pok Chi Lau: “Diaspora: Dreams of the Golden Mountain” : Spring 2007


January 17, 2007
April 1, 2007
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