The AARC’s Community Art Exhibit Program displays artworks year round that celebrate the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage, history, identity and creativity of Asian American Pacific Islanders. Exhibits are displayed on a quarterly schedule.
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Explore the history of how Saheli, an anti-domestic violence community group, has worked to pursue a cycle of peace and become the first organization of its kind in the U.S. South to serve the Asian community.
Zen Garden | Semi-Permanent Art Installation
Prayer Phone, a handmade altar with a disconnected phone, is an invitation to the public to “call” their deceased loved ones while giving offerings and prayers. This project reflects a common custom of many Asian traditions: commemorating ancestors and venerating the spirit world.
Two essential elements compose this installation. The old fashioned phone is a symbolic artifact that represents humanity’s desire to connect and communicate with others. Its historic form evokes passage of time. By contrast, the spiritual act of lighting incense symbolizes the following: sacredness when the element of air is ignited, purification of the environment’s energy, and blessings in return for offerings. These two elements combine to help connect the earthly to the heavens.
This project is inspired by an episode of This American Life featuring stories about Telephone of the Wind in Otsuchi Town, a small seaside town in northeastern Japan. An iconic English telephone phone booth connected to nowhere was repurposed, and people began “calling” family members lost during the tsunami caused by the 2011 Great Japan Earthquake. Telephone of the Wind became a public space for people to grieve for their lost loved ones. In response, Prayer Phone shares in the deep tradition of respecting spirits and coexisting with entities beyond the physical realm, as well as providing a physical space and an outlet to feel connected with the departed.