This month, the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! While we aren’t able to highlight every one of these amazing and diverse cultures, each week will feature an overall theme with related information.
For our final week, we’re covering different styles of art created by AAPI regions. You can catch up on our past weeks (history, pop culture, and food) here.
A common theme explored each week has been the diversity of cultures found within AAPI countries. Asia is the largest continent in the world, spanning from its northern tip in Russia to its southern end at East Timor. Then, heading east, you encounter the Pacific islands that make up Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
When looking at this large of an area, we’re able to experience the variety that represents every area. From food to pop culture, each country stands out for its own unique offering to the world at large. This is also true in the art that originates from AAPI regions.
Take a moment and think about the notable art forms. It’s likely we’ve all encountered beautiful folded paper known as origami or beautifully illustrated graphic novels in the style of anime. Thinking about Russia may bring to mind images of the architecture in St. Petersburg. Plus, you can’t think about the Easter Island without picturing moai.
These examples are a few of many found in the more than 80 AAPI countries. Take some time to read through the resources and challenges below, and dive into your own research. Learn about contemporary and classic AAPI artists and their contributions to the world.
As we wrap up May, remember that learning about these amazing cultures doesn’t stop just because AAPI Heritage Month ends. Save these resources, and those from past emails, to look into around the year. There is always more to learn and explore.
Thank you for taking this journey with us.
Resources to Explore
Bollywood is the major center of film and cinema in India. Bollywood produces roughly 1000 movies a year on average and the majority of them feature glamorous costumes, song-and-dance numbers, and star-studded casts, although more serious cinema is also produced.
Generally while the films are in the Hindi language most of the time, many feature subtitles and some are in English to appeal to international audiences. There are places to see many Bollywood films online for free.
- Oxford Art Online: Lists art styles by country, biographies of artists of Asia, and presents topics that influenced art styles such as religions, geography, political movements, and more.
- National Museum of Asian Art (Smithsonian): Explore virtual galleries showcasing art from a variety of Asian cultures
- China Online Museum
- Asian Art Museum
- National Museum of New Delhi
- Museum of Indonesian Arts
- 7 Famous Works of Architecture Across Asia
- Honolulu Museum of Art
- Philippines National Museum of Art
- Asia Society Museum
Challenges to Complete
Challenge: Watch Asian Animation
Many Asian countries are home to famous animation studios. Often when people think of animation from Asia, they frequently jump to anime which is animation primarily out of Japan. While many Americans typically associate animation with media geared toward children, anime is created for all ages including adults.
Famous examples of Japanese anime include Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, and Pokemon. A common trope in anime typically geared toward children is the magical girl genre, where a normal everyday girl receives a special power or is able to transform into a magical heroine and save the day. A somewhat older example from the 1990s that’s free to watch online is Cardcaptor Sakura. Many magical girl animes feature multiple girls with vastly different personalities that must work together using their personal strengths to save the world. While older animes (especially before the mid-2000s) may fall into stereotypes about “girl behavior” many still have a positive message of respecting each other and celebrating what makes each person unique.
Korean animation studios are also nothing new! Popular American TV shows like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Adventure Time’ have been animated at studios in Seoul, South Korea. Of course, these studios have also released their own work for Korean audiences as well. Pucca is an animation from 2000 with a handful of episodes available for free online.
There’s animation studios in several more countries across Asia. Countries that also have a booming film industry often have animation studios as well. India’s Bollywood is an example of an extremely successful cinema industry. While animation is not as popular, the country still produces a significant number of animated films and shows. Many people online cite examples of their favorites with titles like Bahubali, Dashavatar, and Hanuman. Sadly, we could not find a good free source for watching these films online, however, Netflix has options such as Krishna Balram and Chhota Bheem among many others.
Challenge: Create Art in a Traditional Style
Art styles change from country to country and across time. On a map, find a country in Asia and look up artwork from that area or culture. Using supplies you have on hand, attempt to create your own work in a similar style.
Having trouble getting started? Here’s some examples, but we recommend finding your own inspiration.
Girl Scout Values: Anti-Racism Patch
The Girl Scouts Anti-Racism Patch is a reflection that we are committed to our Girl Scout values that foster a community of justice, fairness, and inclusion. During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, consider using the list of ideas and resources provided to earn the patch with your girl or troop and when you are ready, sign our Girl Scouts Stands Against Racism Pledge.
GSWNY acknowledges and condemns the recent surge in violence against the Asian community across the country. We uplift and amplify the Asian American Federation’s statement with Asian, Black, and Hispanic Association nonprofits condemning attacks and calling for solutions. We want to reiterate to all girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, and staff that we do not tolerate racial injustice, and we strive to create a welcoming space where all of our members feel they belong. Girl Scout members stand up and for the principles of the Girl Scout mission and law. You can find resources from the Asian American Federation here.