High Desert Museum Creations of Spirit Bend Oregon

Illuminating Time with Horatio Law and Alex Chiu

Stage & Studio: In her new podcast, Dmae Lo Roberts talks with Law and Chiu about their new show with fellow artists Shu-Ju Wang and Sam Roxas-Chua at the Portland Chinatown Museum.


Illuminating Time” works by Alex Chiu.

Illuminating Time as a title can mean a time that can be illuminating to a person or a time period that is bright with illumination, like during the holiday season. But in this case Illuminating Time is the name of an exhibit that features three respected visual artists, Alex Chiu, Shu-Ju Wang and Sam Roxas-Chua, who became artists-in-residence for this project.

The exhibit at the Portland Chinatown Museum, which continues until early January 2023, was created and curated by Horatio Law, a veteran public art and installation artist. Law is the recent recipient of a Creative Heights award from the Oregon Community Foundation, and used his grant to create this show.

Law says he chose the three artists for an eight-week residency that reaches out “across time and space to Chinese communities past and present.” The show combines  poetry, ink, paint, and movement as the artists illuminate and celebrate historic Chinese Americans, including residents from Old Town Chinatown to Tanner Creek as well as Eastern Oregon in places like the Kam Wah Chung museum near John Day.

In this podcast Dmae Lo Roberts talked with Horatio Law and Alex Chiu about the artists’ show, the experiences of learning about the contributions of Asian Americans to our history, and the sense of belonging in Oregon.

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Hear past shows on Stage & Studio website. Music by Clark Salisbury.
Horatio Law
Alex Chiu painting mural at My Brother’s Crawfish restaurant. Photo by So-Min Kang.

Illuminating Time
Creative Heights Artists-in-Residence Art Exhibition
at the Portland Chinatown Museum runs through January 2023

More info at: https://www.portlandchinatownmuseum.org/

More about the artists: 

Horatio Hung-Yan Law is a Portland-based photographer and installation and public artist who focuses on making creative projects with communities. The core of his art stems from his Asian American identity and his experience as an immigrant. His projects explore identity, memory and history—the invisible foundation of a community. His project often includes a strong community process, engaging stakeholders in planning and production of the artwork. His public art portfolio includes works created for the City of Tacoma, the Housing Authority of Portland, Seattle Public Utilities, Oregon State Hospital, Tri-Met’s Portland-Milwaukee Light-Rail Line, Portland Parks & Recreations, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4CULTURE, Asian Counseling and Referral Service and The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway in Seattle.

Alex Chiu is a Chinese-American painter and muralist living in Portland. With a background in illustration and comics, he approaches public artwork as a form of visual storytelling. Much of his artwork involves incorporating community input and collaboration. The goal of his work is to accurately document local history and help communities to process cultural identity through a creative process.

Sam Roxas-Chua 姚 (Yao)’s work is an ongoing conversation among poetry, open-form calligraphy (asemic writing), audio field recording, and other mediums. He is a transracial/transcultural adopted person whose writing and art have been called an imagination baked in emotion, and referred to as tidal in formation. His work with the Portland Chinatown Museum has taken him around Oregon to have close dialogues with individuals who hold crucial knowledge about Chinese diaspora. From burning historical wood remnants and collecting excavated charcoal to make calligraphy ink, to recording ambient sounds of historical places such as Kam Wah Chung, Wing Hong Hai, and Chinese mining sites, he contributes a narrative that invites new paradigms of listening, thought, and understanding.

Shu-Ju Wang is a painter and book artist. Multiple voices and viewpoints are the cornerstones of her work, a reflection of her personal history of migration and background in technology, science and art. It is a balancing act of the analytical vs. meditative modes of creating, of re-imagining traditional motifs in a contemporary context, and of understanding our stories as a relationship between narration vs. interpretation.

A marble run by artist Shu-Ju Wang, in her installation about Tanner Spring and the old Chinese farms near Goose Hollow.

Part of an installation by Sam Roxas-Chua. The portrait on the wall, by Alex Chiu, is of Sam’s mother.

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on StagenStudio.com, which continues at ArtsWatch.

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