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Perspectives Asian Pacific American Heritage

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

These videos highlight the breadth of artistic achievement in the AAPI community.

May 6, 2021

The artist Zarina looks at a work of Arabic script

This May, The Met is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Below you’ll find a selection of videos featuring artists, writers, and community leaders who honor the many extraordinary contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the arts. From a short documentary on Isamu Noguchi to live performances in the galleries, these stories highlight the breadth of achievement and the wide-ranging interests of the AAPI community.

Isamu Noguchi installs Water Stone

Long a visitor favorite in Gallery 229, Isamu Noguchi’s Water Stone (1986) has become one of The Met’s most iconic works of art. This short documentary follows its custom installation in the galleries, offering a unique opportunity to witness a beloved artist help prepare his work for public display.

Ariun Sanjaajamts shares her Mongolian heritage

In this episode of Met Stories, Ariun Sanjaajamts, founder of the New York Mongolian Cultural Council, unexpectedly discovers her Mongolian heritage at The Met—and a new way to share it. Walk through the Museum with Sanjaajamts, her daughter, and her granddaughter as they consider the many ways cultural knowledge is preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next.

Ed Young reads Cat and Rat for storytime

You might know Ed Young as the writer and illustrator of Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China (1990), the Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book. Listen along as the author reads from his book Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (1995), which brings an ancient folktale to life. This storytime video is great for families with children ages eighteen months to six years.

Expressing Polynesian divinity

The Met’s 2018–19 exhibition Atea: Nature and Divinity in Polynesia collected work by Polynesian artists who drew from the natural world to express the divine. This marvelous video presents the opening ceremonies for the exhibition, including remarks from curator Maia Nuku and His Excellency Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara (Fijian Ambassador to the United States), as well as ritual protocols and chants offered by honored guests.

An-My Lê reflects on Eugène Atget’s Cuisine

In this episode of The Artist Project, Vietnamese-American photographer An-My Lê responds to Eugène Atget’s Cuisine (ca. 1910). “There’s a sense of care that goes into the preparation of a meal,” Lê reflects on this little-known work. Renowned for her large-format landscapes of conflicted territories and her portraits of military members, Lê reflects here on the poetry and respite of domestic life.


Last year, MetLiveArts and New York Live Arts partnered to present Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei’s durational work OUR LABYRINTH. With new contributions by legendary American dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, the performance was recorded over three weeks and features a range of dance styles, from ballet to hip hop, modern, vogue, and more. This performance features I-Ling Liu, Ragamuffin (Jesse White), and David Thomson with Holland Andrews.

Exploring Zarina’s Home Is a Foreign Place

In this episode of Insider Insights, curator Brinda Kumar discusses Home Is a Foreign Place (1999), a suite of thirty-six woodcut prints on handmade paper by the artist Zarina. This work explores memory, exile, and the tenuousness of "home" through an evocative combination of text and image.

Learn more about the important contributors Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage on Perspectives and our YouTube channel. Stay tuned for additional articles and events produced throughout the month!