Tue, 25 May 2021 15:19:16 GMT
Against the backdrop of twin pandemics – COVID-19 and racial injustice, including marked spikes in anti-Asian hate crimes, this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month took on a special urgency for over 30 members of Mediahub and MullenLowe’s employee resource groups, API and ACE, who curated a virtual museum experience to honour their heritage.
Launched this week, the Sharing Our Light virtual gallery experience includes curated pictures, memories, and experiences of colleagues and allies, created and chosen by 30 employees across both agencies, and also incorporates artwork from external Asian and Pacific Islander artists to showcase and support their work. It also features an original score composed by Van Corsa, Senior Digital Producer, MullenLowe. Record numbers of employees have attended the virtual guided tours, but the exhibit will be open for browsing until the end of July. Link to the gallery available here.
The gallery itself takes visitors on a guided journey through the history of Asian and Pacific Islanders in America, while also celebrating the evolution of API communities through universal themes: family, culture, community, allyship, and action. Six dedicated, themed rooms featured personal stories and photos from employees exploring Asian-American and Pacific Islander identities and experiences – past, present, and future. Employees also act as guides, hosting virtual tours for visitors that dive deeper into each story and piece of art, and the reasons it was selected for inclusion.
“Throughout time, people of Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds have had to navigate perceptions of what people think we are, and who we really are. We’ve seen how powerful sharing individual stories can be for creating empathy and shared understanding, and we wanted to take this opportunity to showcase the many dimensions of our API communities, as well as those things that unite us, and ultimately drive all of us towards action,” said Michelle Gustilo-Smithson, HR Manager, Mediahub and co-founder of the agency’s API employee resource group. “It’s been incredibly special to connect with our colleagues in new ways, as well as tap into people’s talents for photography, music, cooking, and design to bring the gallery to life. The positive response from our visitors has been incredible.”
Exhibits in the gallery feature stories from across Asian and Pacific Islander experiences. In one example, an employee shares photos from Shichi-Go-San (七五三, lit. "Seven-Five-Three") a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls, held to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children, a tradition she plans to continue with her niece. Numerous shots and descriptions of cuisine from the thousands of islands throughout the Philippines are featured. Artifacts from family include traditional jade jewellery, photos depicting immigration and posed shots of families, past and present. The exhibit brings to life the love of family, the importance of traditions passed down and the pride of each person who took the time to share the stories of their heritage.