Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month with These Amazing Local Artists
May has arrived, which means Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is in full action. This month is the perfect occasion to learn, support, and celebrate the many cultural backgrounds, histories, and experiences that make up AAPI identities. We have rounded up some of the AAPI artists and organizations based in Fairfax County for you to explore and learn more.
Gin Dance Company
Gin Dance Company (GDC) is a highly respected and critically acclaimed DMV based performing arts modern dance company. It was founded in 2011 to provide a professional environment for artists to learn, grow, and express themselves and to bring refreshing and vitalizing works of Artistic Director Shu-Chen Cuff to the community. Each of GDC’s works uniquely reflects Shu-Chen’s rich Asian Dance heritage and Eastern philosophy blended with Western fluidity of movement and culture that touch the soul through visuals arts and movement. GDC will perform at the Tephra ICA Arts Festival on May 20-21 at Reston Town Center.
Xuejuan Dance Ensemble
Xuejuan Dance Ensemble‘s (XDE) mission is to introduce American audience to the arts of Chinese dance and Chinese culture. Since its inception in 2009, the ensemble has welcomed and nurtured dancers of different ages, backgrounds and abilities in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area. Join XDE at their upcoming performance at Capital One Hall on June 10.
Yoshiko Ratliff is an ArtsFairfax Emergency Relief & Recovery grant recipient. Her works rely on an abstract organic underpainting with shapes, textures and shades forming integral elements of the finished pieces, and often incorporating influences of her Japanese heritage. She also strives to suggest or replicate the unpredictability and beauty of the crystalline shapes she produces in the glazes for her ceramic works in her paintings. She is a juried member of the Scope Gallery at Torpedo Factory Art Center and the Kiln Club of the Washington DC Area since 2004. Learn more about Yoshiko’s work here.
The Choy Wun Lion Dance Troupe
The Choy Wun Lion Dance Troupe is a Northern Virginia-based dance group comprised of working professionals dedicated to promoting the treasure of tradition and Chinese culture through lion dance. Founded in 2012 under the principles and mission of preserving and spreading Chinese cultural awareness through performance arts, particularly Lion Dancing. Over the years, they have grown into an organization that embodies community involvement, cultural education, and the strive for excellence. To find out where their next public performances will be, follow the Dance Troupe on Instagram @choywunlions.
The Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club
The Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club (VLAC) of the Washington DC metropolitan area is a non-profit organization founded by a group of writers and artists in 2000. VLAC embraces all writers and artists and everyone who not only loves arts but have an appreciation and would like to contribute by either volunteering their time or donate. VLAC’s mission is to preserve and promote our unique heritage and culture. Visit their special events website here to participate in their upcoming events.
Vatsala Mehra is a Washington D.C. based Ghazal/Sufi singer. She has released more than sixteen albums and has been honored by the Indian government for her contributions to India’s musical tradition. Vatsala has performed around the globe to great acclaim and is often referred to as Ghazal queen. Visit her website here to learn more and enjoy her music.
Foon Sham is the 2019 ArtsFairfax Award Honoree and three-time ArtsFairfax grant recipient. He is a prolific sculptor whose work has been featured in more than 45 solo exhibitions and 160 group exhibitions across the United States and the world. Born in Macau, raised in Hong Kong, and currently based in the DC Metro area, Sham is a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he has taught since 1988. From May 20 to November 26, you may view Foon’s work at the upcoming international exhibition “Time Space Existence” in Venice, Italy.