The fifth annual Asia North Exhibition and Festival opened Friday, May 5, with a joyous celebration featuring works and performances by regional APIMEDA (Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American) artists at the Parlor and Motor House, both located on North Avenue in the Station North Arts District.
Co-produced by the Central Baltimore Partnership and Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, the festival honors the history of the area as Baltimore’s first unofficial Koreatown and coincides with AAPI Heritage Month.
The opening featured performances by Hee Kyung Lee Dance Company and violinist Hyejin Kim in Motor House’s Black Box theater. Yong Han Lion Dancers led the crowd in a parade through Graffiti Alley, and Ashling Han and ensemble moved the audience to a rapt quiet with a performance art piece, ‘a poetry of Transforming.’ The Parlor basement hosted the Modern Barangay, a palm-filled pop-up speakeasy by Barangay Baltimore, a Filipino community organization with DJ Mmrs. Local Korean mainstay Brown Rice provided their signature dumplings for the event.
This year’s visual art exhibit, TRANSition /TRANSformation /TRANScendence, includes works by 32 APIMEDA artists curated by AA&CC’s Program Manager, Nerissa Paglinauan, who said she was inspired by the spectacular works submitted for the exhibit plus the chance to curate at the Parlor’s magnificent and historic space. “I continue to be inspired by this network of APIMEDA artists we have cultivated through Asia North over the past five years,” says Paglinaun. “In addition to featuring the work of these artists from the DMV, I also wanted to reach out to LGBQTIA+ artists within this community given the struggles and challenges many continue to face as some are still unable to be out to family here and in their homelands.”
The TRANSition/ TRANSformation/ TRANScendence exhibit explores how this community transitions, transforms and transcends in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, toxic environments and relationships, losing loved ones, and more. For info about gallery hours and additional programs including the Asia North Maker’s Market Saturday May 13, go to towson.edu/asianorth.