By Katrina Fadrilan
Writers Luis H. Francia and Midori Yamamura spoke at the Asian-American Writer’s Workshop to discuss their experience as Asian-American authors and celebrate the works of visual artist Yayoi Kusama.
Francia read several of his essays from his book “Re: Recollections. Reviews. Reflections,” which reflects on his life and reveals some of the obstacles of being a Filipino-American writer.
Though Francia’s work hits upon difficult subjects such as barriers countless Asian-American artists face in receiving recognition or acclimating to American culture as a Filipino immigrant, he writes with wit and humor on living in New York City and becoming a writer. One specific anecdote he writes of in the chapter “Fool’s Clarity,” when he attempted to be a pornographic writer in New York City. I won’t divulge in any more details and spoiler alerts, so instead buy his book.
Francia remains honest and concise without the pretentious force of sounding superior or wise, refreshing qualities in a writer nowadays. Regardless of ethnicity or nationality, his essays will amuse and captivate all audience while still shedding light on sensitive topics of race and adjusting to a foreign culture.
amamura possesses equal astuteness as her husband. Her novel about the Japanese modern artist, Yayoi Kusama seems to be thoughtful and thorough. However, she did not read aloud any parts from her book, so I cannot say for sure. Yamamura instead had a presentation on Yayoi Kusama, one that was as stimulating and committed as the artist Yayoi herself. Yamamura discussed the eccentricities of Yayoi such as organizing protests in New York City towards the Vietnam War often involving nudity and her major, leading contributions to avant-garde in modern art.
Yamamura continued to explain the common, artistic themes and qualities of Kusama such as surrealism, feminism and autobiographical messages. Although Kusama attained a critical role in modern art and gained recognition for that, Yamamura informed us that Kusama is largely out of the public eye after leaving the New York scene and sadly resides in a mental hospital now. However, to learn more about Kusama’s artwork and life, buy Midori Yamamura’s book named after the artist it centers on.
The Asian-American Writer’s Workshop hosts many events similar to these and helps elevate less recognized Asian artists to receive the attention and praise they very well deserve. Be sure to attend their events or help support them.
Email her at Kat Fadrillan at email@example.com.