Recap: Portraiture Now Fundraising Reception
Written by Andrea Park, Summer 2011 intern.
On July 12, 2011, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) hosted a welcome reception for the APAP’s new director, Konrad Ng, which doubled as a preview for Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter, the upcoming exhibition that opens on August 12, 2011 and on display through October 14, 2012.
This was the first time I have ever attended an event with a medley of high-profiled APA community members, Smithsonian “head honchos,” and art enthusiasts. The guest list included people such as Martin Sullivan, Director of NPG, Franklin Odo, the founder and former director of APAP, members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, U.S. Representative Doris Matsui’s representative, Kari Lacosta, and NPG Commissioner Sheryll Cashin.
My fellow interns and APAP staffers arrived a half-hour before the event kicked off, so I had a couple of moments to soak in the scene. The reception was held in the second floor rotunda and Riley Gallery—an elegant space with wooden floors, intricately carved wooden panels, and crystal chandeliers that opened up to an airy balcony. Projected on the walls of the room were pieces from Portraiture Now accompanied by a playlist of chamber orchestral music.
I was particularly struck by Satomi Shirai’s vibrant, highly saturated photos of female subjects in urban settings. I especially connected with “Fortune Telling,” a photograph of two young women sitting in a living room littered with strips of peeled fruit skin because my mother uses the same technique to peel fruit. On one hand I was able to identify with the young, cosmopolitan subjects, but on the other I was left longing for the comfort of a previous generation.
Perhaps the most special part of the evening was Konrad’s speech where he not only introduced each intern, but read a quote from each of our applications about why the APAP is important to us. As a plug for all of you would-be interns, definitely apply! The APAP is a friendly and cohesive organization which is earnestly dedicated to promoting APA history and culture. As an intern, I really feel like I am making an important contribution to the program’s objectives.