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SEGD strives to celebrate projects that inspire and improve the human experience, including those that reflect the narratives of traditionally underrepresented communities. The Japanese American National Museum’s new core exhibition, designed by SEGD member firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates, will tell the Japanese American story like it’s never been before.
The Japanese American National Museum’s new core exhibition will tell the Japanese American story as a quintessential American story in the making across generations. It will further the American story as one that is—and has always been—intrinsically multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural. Through a range of Japanese American voices, as well as the interconnected experiences and perspectives of various marginalized communities, the exhibition will interrogate the roles of racism, settler colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism in shaping American history.
The Japanese American experience, with its many diverse threads, is an iconic part of the American story. From early to more recent immigration experiences, to building livelihoods, families, communities, and activist movements in the face of discrimination, exclusion, and injustice, Japanese American experiences resonate and intersect with those of many other Americans past and present.
Central to this story is the trauma, upheaval, and loss caused by the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The new core exhibition will center and honor this history, while conveying the lessons it offers all visitors about the fragility of American democracy and the resilience of the human spirit to persist and demand justice. These lessons are still relevant today, with ongoing movements to fight racism and inequality across the nation.
The newly realized core exhibition, designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, will guide visitors on a chronological journey through Japanese American history, while also emphasizing how lessons from the past can help us fight injustice in the present. The journey will offer dramatic and memorable experiences that spark curiosity, convey knowledge, and reach people’s hearts, to encourage empathy and, ultimately, action to support a better tomorrow for all.
In SEGD’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month we would like to feature other projects and community members below. These projects and community members amplify, celebrate and bring Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and history to the forefront in exemplary ways.
Yeohyun Ahn is a designer, educator, researcher, and an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Yeohyun is also a member of SEGD’s Academic Task force. Ahn’s new project, Evolving Graphic Design, is an exhibition developed with other designers and shows the new focus of visual design education from a Western, print-centric area to a diverse, global one that eagerly employs emerging technology. This exhibition showcases evolving graphic design education, research, and techniques beyond print, crossing boundaries among creative coding, 3D printing, guerrilla projection, speculative design, performative sound, data visualization, human-centered design, augmented reality with activism, inclusive graphic design, and cultural identity impacted by globalization. Follow the exhibition on Instagram for behind the scenes exclusives.
Phillip Tiongson is the founder and CEO of Potion, an experiential design studio based in New York City. Tiongson and his team recently created Power of Intentions for the Rubin Museum of Art. The museum wanted to reinvent the traditional Tibetan prayer wheel in a transformational lobby installation, allowing visitors to actively participate and “release positive energy into the world.”
Andy Chen and Waqas Jawaid
Andy Chen and Waqas Jawaid, co-founders and partners of Isometric Studio, an experiential design studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Their team recently created Who We Are, an SEGD 2020 Global Design Award winner, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York examining the US census through “data art.” The exhibition leverages the work of leading artists and designers to translate census data into an interactive, immersive experience.
Katie Lee and Lynn Kiang
Katie Lee and Lynn Kiang are co-founders and partners of Dome Collective, an experience design studio based in Brooklyn, New York. This year their team created Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain, an exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art that then traveled to the Smithsonian Institution’s Sackler Gallery. The exhibition brings together ancient artifacts with immersive digital technologies to illuminate the histories of these enigmatic sculptures including their journeys over the past 150 years.
SEGD Seattle Chapter, AAPI Design Forum
Don’t forget about our SEGD Chapters! The SEGD Seattle Chapter is hosting an AAPI Design Forum tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, 2022. This virtual event is an opportunity to have an open discussion with fellow AAPI members as we chat about our experiences, challenges, and how we can continue to thrive in the world of art and design. Sign up to join here!