'Brought to Light: A Lanterns Exhibition' is the creation of Fiona Wu, a member of the Vanderbilt University Asian American Student Association (AASA). Founded in 1986, AASA strives for a sustaining culture of activism regarding Asian and Asian-American identity, moving beyond established stereotypes and providing a platform for students to celebrate their heritage and find their voice for change. It is the largest cultural group on campus, with a stated purpose of promoting awareness of Asian and Asian-American cultures and issues within the University, the local community, and beyond, in order to foster a campus community more inclusive to Asian American identities.
In recognition of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Month 2021, a month-long celebration and uplifting of APIDA identities, experiences, histories and cultures in our communities, the group has chosen the theme of I'MVISIBLE.
In an environment where the Asian/Asian American community is often unseen and unheard, and after a difficult year of widespread hate crimes towards the Asian-American community, we believe now is more important than ever to take a hold of our voice and proclaim our right to visibility in the world. We plan to do this through events such as 'Brought to Light': A Lanterns Exhibition', in which we can physically take up space on campus and create important dialogues among our peers.
In addition to everyday usage as a light source in the past, lanterns are commonly associated with festivals in Asian culture. The Vanderbilt community is invited to join AASA in celebrating APIDAM by taking over Rand during October 2021 with Asian American stories and lantern designs. The group will be handing out half-made lanterns from October 6-8 and asking passerby to finish the design and share a story. The collected lanterns and stories will be displayed until Halloween, after which the exhibition will light up the Curb Center until the Art of Healing Exposition ends in December 2022.
'Brought to Light' images from
the October 2021 VU Sarratt Student Center installation