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Artists Exchange
Asian Arts Initiative
Philadelphia, PA
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Artists Exchange
This December, Asian Arts Initiative presents work by some of today's most talented and innovative Asian American performers from all over the country! Traditional theater, dance, music, spoken word poetry, video and multi-disciplinary performance forms are used to explore a rich variety of themes that shape contemporary Asian American identity including feminist ideology, twentieth-century political activism, family relationships, international adoption, immigration and much more.


Night 1: Thursday December 6, 7:30 p.m.
Featured Artists: Gein Wong, Anula Shetty, Sun-Mee Chomet

Night 2: Friday December 7, 7:30 p.m.
Featured Artists: Kelly Tsai, Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Kennedy Kabasares, Soomi Kim

$15 per ticket | $12 for students | $20 festival pass with special invitation to join artists' conversations

Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 557-0455 |


Philadelphia-based filmmaker ANULA SHETTY presents a new media-based performance piece titled A Heavy Womb that explores surrogacy and fertility in India and the personal struggle with infertility. The piece incorporates footage of surrogate moms and other couples filmed on-site in India.

Toronto-based artist GEIN WONG blends together theater, poetry, hip hop, Western and Chinese classical music, modern dance, performance art, and the visual arts in Hiding Words, a piece that delves into nushu, a secret language created in 400 A.D. when Chinese women were not allowed to read or write. Set in China during its biggest 19th Century rebellion, a modern Canada where national security is at a heightened state, and a hip urban Hong Kong on the eve of the Beijing Olympics, Hiding Words examines the relationship between women connected through space and time, following their pursuits to influence social change.

Korean born, New York City-based actor and movement artist SOOMI KIM presents Chang(e), based on the life and work of Philadelphia performance artist and activist Kathy Chang who is infamously remembered for her last "performance," in which she set herself on fire and danced as a protest to the political apathy of the elite students of the University of Pennsylvania. This new work will be a hybrid dance theatre work that incorporates dance on film, site-specific work, political theater, movement, video and original music.

Los Angeles-based artist and community organizer TRACI KATO-KIRIYAMA and aerial artist KENNEDY KABASARES use monologues, recorded interviews, and static trapeze as elements in PULL to tell the story of a young woman's relationship with her mother, and how they deal with the death of her father. The very deliberate aerial choreography in play with the performance text reveal layers of distance, despair, hope, love and warmth.

Brooklyn-based Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word poet, playwright, and filmmaker KELLY ZEN-YIE TSAI presents Formosa, an investigation of beauty, bodies, and Barbie in which the stories of a mid-1600s Spanish sailor, an Asian American hip-pop diva, an 8-year-old Chinese adoptee, and a 1960s Taiwanese Barbie doll factory worker collide across time and space.

An actor, dancer, and playwright based in St. Paul, Minnesota, SUN-MEE CHOMET presents How to Be a Korean Woman, a piece in which Chomet, a Korean-American adoptee, shares the personal story of her journey to reunite with her birth family. Through this personal play, Chomet seeks to penetrate the shroud of secrecy that hovers over adoptees as they attempt their difficult searches navigating language barriers, cultural differences, and birth families that are afraid to come forward.

Artists Exchange is supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Performance Network's Performance Residency Program and Community Fund.



Asian Arts Initiative (View)
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

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