The Chinese American Museum (CAM), along with the rest of the nation, closed its doors in 2020 during a time of uncertainty. The year brought much more than a pandemic, including a national reckoning with systemic racism towards BIPOC communities and a rise in racially motivated violence against Asian Americans. As the galleries remained dark, the museum was prompted to re-imagine what CAM could become beyond its walls. The staff focused on developing virtual programming and an online presence to speak against racism while continuing the museum’s mission of cultural education and celebration. During this process and throughout the year, CAM has cultivated relationships with many local organizations and artists to promote unity and community building.

As the museum re-opens to the public, CAM continues to build on this vision with Collective Resilience: Asian American Artists Honoring Our Community’s Strength and Unity. Seven artists, each from different backgrounds, reflect on their varied experiences of the past year. Individually, their works include explorations into the relationship between (in)justice and social movements, the confluence of (mixed) identity and heritage, and connections between storytelling and communication. The exhibition is an opportunity to celebrate community accomplishments and look forward to an optimistic future, together.

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Gallery photos by Ian Byers-Gamber