A Forgotten Asian American Artist of Hope, Resilience and Peace | Haiyun Lu | 7 Min Read

July 11, 2023

I asked ChatGPT to give me a list of well-known American artists. From Jackson Pollock to Robert Rauschenberg, not a single Asian American artist made it onto the list. I’m not surprised since the majority of Americans cannot name more than five Asian Americans in general.  If the most resourceful ChatGPT yields biased information, then something is seriously wrong. 

This void has truly proven that an expert series’ talk cosponsored by Nō Studios and Milwaukee Art Museum is extremely valuable. The panel discussion I participated in was a dialogue between American’s well-known filmmaker and screenwriter, John Ridley, and the late American artist Chiura Obata’s granddaughter and author, Kimi Hill, on Chiura Obata’s life and contributions.

During a time when division, mistrust, the lack of tolerance, and unwillingness to compromise dominate our culture, media, and society, a discussion like this is critically important in fostering understanding, empathy, collaboration, and acceptance in our country.

Born in 1885 in Okayama, Japan, Obata had love, passion, and appreciation for art and nature from a very young age.  When he was 14 years old, he left home, went to Tokyo, and became an art apprentice to learn traditional Japanese painting and…

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Haiyun Lu

Haiyun Lu, a Chinese language teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (WI), is also a writer, blogger, trainer, curriculum designer, meditator, and Co-Founder at Ignite Chinese.