Care
Package

Poems, meditations, films, and other cultural nutrients for times like this.

Curated with love by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

We

are able to exhibit courage and strength in our greatest moments – but what about our most impossible times? Where do we find wisdom within the vast unknown? How do we stay grounded when everything is up in the air?

At SmithsonianAPA, we think deeply about how to best show up during challenging periods. We always find the answer in our community.

Care Package is a collection of creative offerings by artists, writers, and scholars who we have collaborated with in recent years. Here, you will find a range of approaches to addressing uncertainty, anxiety, and grief through vision, reflection, and healing. Most have been exhibited in past programs, but have never been made widely accessible until now.

While this body of work may not hold the solutions for everything, we hope that it helps you find some calm amidst the chaos.


 

Table of contents

Not So Distant, a guided meditation by Yumi Sakugawa

AFTEREARTH, a short film by Jess X. Snow, Kit Yan & Peter Pa

Between You and You, a poem by Sham-e-Ali Nayeem featuring Qais Essar

Whakarongo, an embodied journey by Jack Gray

Photosynth, a soundbath by Low Leaf, Alex Abalos & Adam Labuen

Current, I, a poem by Lehua M. Taitano

Tea(r)ism, a guided meditation by Naoko Wowsugi

Kitchen Remedies, an archive of recipes by People's Kitchen Collective

The Corner of Heart-to-Hearts, a zine by Chad Shomura & Yumi Sakugawa

What Time Is It On The Clock Of The World?, a song by Nobuko Miyamoto & Juan Perez

Learning Together, resources for K12 teachers searching for Asian Pacific and Pacific Islander narratives

SmithsonianAPA takes pride in compensating artists with respect and equity. Artists are particularly affected by the challenges of current events, and we encourage you to support them however you can. Learn more about SmithsonianAPA's community-centered commitments.

Not So Distant

A guided meditation by Yumi Sakugawa

In Not So Distant, artist Yumi Sakugawa stewards us through a meditation on life in deep space, in a future where Planet Earth exists only in historic memory. By summoning our connections to ancestral knowledge, Sakugawa leads a slow, restorative voyage to demonstrate that, wherever we are in time and space, we can find solace in simply being Earthlings.

one person or more
a quiet, comfortable place to sit
12 minutes

Yumi Sakugawa is an Ignatz Awards nominated comic book artist and the author of I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You, Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe, and There Is No Right Way To Meditate: And Other Lessons. Her comics have appeared in BuzzFeed, The Believer, Bitch, the Best American Non­Required Reading 2014, The Rumpus, The Feminist Utopia Project, and other publications.

@yumisakugawa
@yumi-sakugawa

Photo: Les Talusan

Not So Distant was originally presented as a part of Yumi's installation, Intergalactic Interfaith Peace Community Meditation Space Center at CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, presented by SmithsonianAPA in NYC in 2016.

Background audio: First Likely Marsquake Heard by NASA's InSight

AFTEREARTH

A short film by Jess X. Snow, Kit Yan & Peter Pa

featuring Hina Wong-Kalu, Isabella Borgeson, Kayla Briët & Wang-Ping Oshiro

As rising sea levels threaten the loss of their motherlands in Hawaiʻi, the Philippines, China, and North America, four women fight to preserve the volcano, ocean, land and air for future generations. AFTEREARTH is told through music, poetry, and heartfelt testimonial, and displayed through stunning visuals situated in locations touched by the Pacific Ocean.

14 minutes

Jess X. Snow

Jess X. Snow is an Asian-Canadian filmmaker, artist and pushcart-nominated poet currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Through film, large-scale murals, poetry and community art education, they are working to build a future where LGBTQ+ and migrant people of color may see themselves heroic on the big screen and city walls & discover in their own bodies; a sanctuary for healing and collective liberation.

@jessxsnow
@jessie-chen-6

Photo: Frisly Soberanis

Kit Yan

Kit Yan is a Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, Diversionary Theater, and Dixon Place. In 2018 Kit founded Translab, an incubator for Transgender and Non-binary voices in the American Theater along with MJ Kaufman and supported by WP Theater and the Public Theater.

@kityanpoet
@kit-yan

Peter Pa

Peter Pa is a queer Cambodian American illustrator and artist based in Boston, MA. Peter earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design where he received the Kira M. Fischer Scholarship for excellence in film. His work has been featured at SFMOMA, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Interference Archive and USAID.

Photo: Tara Rock

AFTEREARTH was originally created for ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence, presented by SmithsonianAPA in Honolulu in 2017. The film has screened in film festivals throughout the world, and has been made available for limited-time streaming for Care Package. More at afterearthfilm.com

Between You and You

A poem by Sham-e-Ali Nayeem

with music by Qais Essar

"Between You and You" explores the depths and complexities that exist in a relationship with self. Poet Sham-e-Ali Nayeem reflects on how her notions of solitude transform over time and in nature, as musician Qais Essar complements with a gently hypnotic melody.

2 minutes

Sham-e-Ali Nayeem is an Indian Muslim American poet, artist and public interest lawyer of Hyderabadi descent. Her poetry has appeared in Apiary, Dusie and Mizna, and can be found in anthologies, including Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2005), Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak (Beacon Press, 2005) and Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence (Seal Press, 2008).

@sham_e_ali_nayeem
@shamnayeem

Qais Essar is a contemporary Afghan composer, instrumentalist and producer who channels his melodic designs through the rabab, a 2,500 year old instrument from Afghanistan. He has toured extensively, sharing his new genre of music nationally and internationally. Essar has released two LPs, five EPs and one live album.

@q_essar
@q_essar

"Between You and You" was originally published in City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2019). Sham-E-Ali Nayeem and Qais Essar collaborated to record the City of Pearls EP after first meeting and collaborating at Now You See Us, presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Whakarongo

An embodied journey by Jack Gray

Co-presented by Auckland Museum

Take an embodied tour of inner and outer worlds, a sonic journey led by dancer and choreographer Jack Gray. Experience the somatic, physical and spiritual expressiveness of dance through dialogue. Originally created as a tour through Silo Park in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Whakarongo can be enjoyed in any physical or imagined location. Be prepared to activate fantasy within the public space of civility.

one person or more
space to move around indoors, as well as outdoors if it's possible and safe (if not, near a window is fine!)
you'll need a drawing instrument (preferably chalk) and a surface to draw on (preferably a wall or the ground) & a smartphone or digital camera
24 minutes

Jack Gray

Jack Gray is a dance artist and choreographer of Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou lineage, appointed Atamira Artistic Director in 2018. Jack works with a lens of global interdisciplinarity exploring cultural activation and community facilitation. As a founding member of Atamira, Jack’s repertoire includes “Freshly Minted”, “Hail”, “Maapuna”, “Mitimiti” and “Indigenous Stamina.”

@jgrayjnr

Whakarongo was originally created for Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab on Civility, presented by SmithsonianAPA and the Auckland Museum in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. Music: (1) Sound Studio Set "The Scapegoat" (2) Ty Segall "Every 1's a Winner"

Photosynth

A soundbath by Low Leaf, Alex Abalos & Adam Labuen

"Photosynth" is a visual and aural landscape, a visual and musical conversation. Sounds from Low Leaf's harp and crystal bowls coalesce with sonic frequencies from fruits and vegetables transmitted through Alex Abalos' modular synthesizer. A three-part animation by Adam Labuen lays a visual foundation, as he merges his background in science illustration with his love for 8-bit graphics. Evoking wildlife native to the Cordilleras of the Philippines, the ceremonial cultivation of rice in the regions, and the effects of displacement from native land – "Photosynth" offers a safe space for discussions about landlessness, protecting the environment, self-sufficient farming and the sacredness of food.

8 minutes

Low Leaf is a Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. Through years of DIY recordings, she has defined her own unique sound by combining the classical piano training of her childhood with her own self-taught harp, guitar, and production skills, plus heartfelt singing - giving way to a very pure, unrestricted and constantly growing signature style. She ultimately seeks to be a voice of both nature and her Filipino ancestors alike, in hopes to heal and re-awaken the world as a universal family.

@lowleaf

Photo: Emmanuel Mones

Alex Abalos a.k.a. Pu22le is a San Francisco Bay Area based artist with a background in DJing and modular synthesizers. He has participated in two SmithsonianAPA Culture Labs, CTRL+ALT and ʻAe Kai.

Photo: Emmanuel Mones

Adam Labuen is a science illustrator who works in traditional and digital media. Raised in Palm Springs, CA, Adam was surrounded by the Coachella Valley’s rich wildlife. Hiking through the arid deserts and lush canyons, he took an appreciation to nature at an early age. Throughout the years this admiration has led him to the path of a science illustrator.

@adam_labuen
@adamlabuen

"Photosynth" was originally presented at ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence, presented by SmithsonianAPA in Honolulu in 2017. The audio is a recording of one of the artists' periodic performances during the program.

Current, I

A poem by Lehua M. Taitano

In "Current, I," poet Lehua M. Taitano reflects on the natural elements which she is composed of, and how social norms find friction with her very existence. Lehua's words find companionship in a video featuring scenes from her daily encounters with water, plants, and sea creatures – a montage ecosystem which she is inseparable from.

5 minutes

Lehua Taitano

Lehua M. Taitano is a queer CHamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigu, Guåhan (Guam) and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-fifth Century. Taitano’s work investigates modern indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora. She is the author of two volumes of poetry—Inside Me an Island (WordTech Editions) and A Bell Made of Stones (TinFish Press).

@lehua_m._taitano
@Lehua-Taitano

"Current I" was originally presented as a part of Queer Check-Ins, a collection of video poems curated by Frannie Choi for A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America presented by SmithsonianAPA in 2019. For Care Package, we are pleased to publish the poem for the first time in text form.

Tea(r)ism

A guided meditation by Naoko Wowsugi

Come take part in a meditative healing ritual of crying. Tea(r)ism is a space for contemplation and reflection, encouraging participants to release emotions and cleanse the spirit. Originally created for ‘Ae Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence in Honolulu, artist Naoko Wowsugi led ceremonial mamaki tea gatherings to facilitate therapeutic group healing to promote bonding and reconciliation with one’s self and neighbors. This meditation can be enjoyed anywhere by disregarding the few references to assistants.

one person or more
a quiet, comfortable place to sit
a cup of mamaki tea (alternatively, any other soothing tea or beverage)
16 minutes

Naoko Wowsugi, is an artist of Korean-Japanese descent, lives and teaches in DC. Through a multidisciplinary practice including visual art, local lore, horticulture, and community participation, she celebrates human connections by toying with interpersonal and sociopolitical norms. Using art as a form of communication, her work depicts the individual in cultural economies and challenge habits of self-perception.

@geyonce.forever

Tea(r)ism was originally presented at ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence, presented by SmithsonianAPA in Honolulu in 2017. Voice by Skylar Fein. Project Manager: Nicole Dowd. Support from The Rauschenberg Residency and American University. Contributions: Lucia Riffel, Issac Saunder, Will Rawls, and Tom "Pohaku" Stone.

Kitchen Remedies

An archive of recipes by People's Kitchen Collective

The People’s Kitchen Collective works at the intersection of art and activism as a food-centered political education project. Written in our family’s recipes are the maps of our migrations and the stories of our resilience. Kitchen Remedies invites you to remember health as familial and communal, rather than simply medical. Here, you will find family cures for common ailments, tracking healing practices across cultures and communities.

one person or more
a kitchen you feel familiar in
simple ingredients as mentioned in the recipes
not long at all

People's Kitchen Collective (PKC) works at the intersection of art and activism as a food-centered political education project. Based in Oakland, California, its creative practices reflect the diverse histories and backgrounds of co-founders Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Jocelyn Jackson, and Saqib Keval. PKC believes in radical hospitality as a strategy to address the urgent social issues of our time.

@peopleskitchencollective
@peopleskitchen

Photo: Les Talusan

Kitchen Remedies was originally presented at CrossLines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality, presented by SmithsonianAPA in Washington, D.C. in 2016. A limited edition of printed zines were made available at the event, and with Care Package we are pleased to make it digitally available.

The Corner of Heart-to-Hearts

An interactive zine by Chad Shomura and Yumi Sakugawa

The Corner of Heart-to-Hearts is an interactive experiment in Asian and Pacific American wellness that creates alternate futures through intimate dialogue with oneself and others. It works against the frenetic pace of contemporary life, which affords Asian and Pacific Americans in particular little time for reflection, self-care and the hard work of building community. Drawing upon feminist and queer scholarship on public feelings, stranger intimacy and queer utopias, the Corner blurs divides between typically parsed categories--public and private, strangers and intimates, individuals and communities--in order to build connections that are at once ephemeral and meaningful, and in which glimmers of utopian futures may be discerned.

two people
together in person or online
recommended: a plant, a candle, and other magical artifacts
however long it takes

Chad Shomura

Chad Shomura is a political theorist, writer, and teacher based in Denver, Colorado. He researches and teaches a variety of topics, such as affect, the human and its ecologies, uneven conditions of living and dying, and the struggles of minoritized peoples to survive and thrive. His work engages canonical and nontraditional political thinkers by drawing upon the insights of related fields such as feminist, queer, and American studies.

@hellochadcat

Photo: Linh Huýnh

Yumi Sakugawa is an Ignatz Awards nominated comic book artist and the author of I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You, Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe, and There Is No Right Way To Meditate: And Other Lessons. Her comics have appeared in BuzzFeed, The Believer, Bitch, the Best American Non­Required Reading 2014, The Rumpus, The Feminist Utopia Project, and other publications.

@yumisakugawa
@yumi-sakugawa

Photo: Les Talusan

The Corner of Heart-to-Hearts was originally presented at CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, presented by SmithsonianAPA in NYC in 2016. A limited edition of printed zines were made available at the event, and with Care Package we are pleased to make it digitally available.

 

*BONUS*
Corner of Heart-to-Heart iMessage Stickers!

What Time is It On the Clock of the World?

A song by Nobuko Miyamoto and Juan Perez

Co-presented by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Legendary artist and activist Nobuko Miyamoto illustrates the urgency of a climate in crisis. Calling attention to a range of interconnected issues, Nobuko calls us "to think, to dream, to imagine, to create community...and make the world we want to live in."

4 minutes

Nobuko Miyamoto is a performing artist, activist, and community organizer committed to the social power of music. Her career spans Broadway and major motion picture productions, music of the 1970s Asian American Movement, and her work with Great Leap, Inc, the organization she founded in 1978 to initiate multicultural community performing arts collaborations in her hometown of Los Angeles. Today, she focuses on using art to facilitate dialog across spiritual differences and on environmental issues. Active in the Senshin Buddhist Temple, she has composed songs that are now a regular part of the annual Buddhist observance of obon in temples from California’s Central Valley to San Diego and nationally.

This video was produced by Ken Honjo, a Los Angeles-based Japanese freelance filmmaker. A graduate of University of California San Diego, he enjoys working in marketing and advertising productions, music videos, and documentaries.

@kenhonjo

Nobuko participated in the 2014 and 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festivals. The song “What Time Is It on the Clock of the World?” will be featured on Nobuko’s forthcoming Smithsonian Folkways album. With Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin, Nobuko recorded the seminal 1973 album A Grain of Sand, produced for Paredon Records and now part of the Smithsonian Folkways catalog.

Music arranged by Derek Nakamoto, produced by Quetzal Flores and Derek Nakamoto. Video produced by Ken Honjo. Vocals, Nobuko; Turbo Didley, Juan Perez; drums, Abe Lagrimas; harmonica, Tetsuya Nakamura; shamisen, Mike Penny; Wurlitzer electric piano, B-3, upright, synth bass, Derek Nakamoto; additional vocals, Asiyah Ayubbi, Nancy Sekizawa, Carla Vega, Lynne Fiddmont, Valerie Pinkston, and Lamont Van Hook.

We're here.

In the United States, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are experiencing the social effects of the coronavirus outbreak uniquely, and our concerns encompass those near us as well as our loved ones in every corner of the world. At SmithsonianAPA, we’ve been thinking deeply about what a holistic and nourishing response looks like in such a complex moment, and this Care Package is just one of them.

We’re excited to continue sharing more with you, including a suite of educational tools which we will unveil in mid-April, and tools to directly support those whose health, safety, and access to resources are disproportionately impacted.

In the meantime, here are just a few of the many resources that we've found helpful and inspiring:

COVID-19 Resources Translated

Asian American Feminist Antibodies (Care in the Time of Coronavirus)

Yellow Peril Teach-In Resources

#StopAAPIHate Reporting Center

Additional resources compiled by A/P/A Institute at NYU