Resilience and Hope - the other side of mental health Accessible Gallery

2020 tested the world in unprecedented ways. Many of the images reflected the power of resilience, humor, and creativity, of tapping into our inner strength, spirituality, and finding pride and support in our heritage. There was celebration for surviving the coronavirus or having hope that true change will occur. There was a collage of drawings made by K-12 students recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and reminding us that we need more role models - today’s younger generation giving us hope for a better future. Hope and resilience is evidenced by children blowing bubbles or finding hope in a hundred year old obutsudan (Buddhist family altar), that survived a war and now sits in the home of a grandmother.

Title of Photo: Hang in There 

Submission by: Sakura Foundation    

Date Image was Captured: 6/6/20

Time Image was Captured: 10:10:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Denver 

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A hand written note that says "Hang in there" is displayed in a makeshift home office which was created as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.

What does this image mean to you? 
[Submission is on behalf of Sakura Foundation] The COVID-19 restrictions have affected all of us on a variety of levels, regardless of our ethnicity, age, income, etc.  We are all trying to Hang In There and deal with our current situations like working from home,  experiencing isolation, worrying about our families.  Yet there are still those who choose to lash out at and ignorantly blame Asians for the virus.  The virus does not discriminate.  The virus scares us.  The virus makes us feel out of control.  The discrimination also scares us and makes us feel out of control.   Acknowledging our fears, emotions and power can bring a sense of balance back to our lives.  

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
Greater compassion and expression of that compassion is always a change that is needed in the world.     

Title of Photo: Finding beauty in the city

Name: Grace Lam

Ethnicity: Chinese

Date Image was Captured: 5/7/20

Time Image was Captured: 8:53:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Central Park

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Beautiful scenic view of Central Park. 

What does this image mean to you? 
When life gives you lemons make Lemonade.  

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
Peace to the world

Title of Photo: In Wake of the Crashing Dawn (1) - Bruce

Name: Bruce Tetsuya

Ethnicity: Japanese

Age: 23

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
This film is an abstract dance piece about generational pain, and follows a young Japanese-American man in 1942, during the incarceration camps.

What does this image mean to you? 
This is a short film that I wrote, produced, and directed early 2020, before the COVID outbreak, and is meant to be a form of physical and visual catharsis for myself, and other Asian Americans.

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I think it's evident that America was not prepared for a pandemic of any scale, as seen by the lack of resources, both in public supply, and medical support. Especially in light of the protests, and the fully equipped military police forces, The United States government needs to seriously reevaluate its priorities in delegation of resources and funding. 

Title of Photo: Togetherness

Name: Geeta Agerwala

Ethnicity: South Asian    

Age: 70

Date Image was Captured: 4/14/20

Time Image was Captured: 5:00:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Cortlandt, NY    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Posing in front of a white star magnolia, the first tree to bloom in the spring, with my husband with whom I have been through many ups and downs in life. I am wearing a mask and look energized. My husband is smiling. We look glad to be alive.    

What does this image mean to you? 
Sharing a refreshing walk with my husband. Communing with Mother Nature, seeing buds bloom reminds me that there is a rhythm to life. There is a large world out there beyond me and my emotions. All will be well.

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I really would like those in less privileged groups to have better healthcare, better education and job opportunities, better housing. It's time we focused on what others need.    

Title of Photo: Baba's Garden

Name: Sriya Bhattacharyya

Ethnicity: South Asian – Indian

Age: 33

Date Image was Captured: 5/3/20

Time Image was Captured: 11:00:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Bronx, NY, backyard

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A group of six black round garden containers filled with soil and small tomato and pepper plants. Surrounding the containers are smaller containers filled with strawberry plants and flowers - marigolds and petunias. 

What does this image mean to you? 
Working at a hospital during COVID-19, I needed to engage in something therapeutic. My late father "Baba" used to love gardening, we used to go to the nursery every weekend during the summer growing up. On his birthday, May 3, I went to the local nursery to get my hands in the dirt and created a container garden in my yard. I love watching the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and flowers grow and tending to them. On father's day, I ate the first strawberry produced in the garden.

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? More love to mother earth, more time in the capitalist system to be in relationship with the earth and with community neighbors and families.

Title of Photo: Afternoon on the Porch

Name: Nathaniel Tran    

Ethnicity: Vietnamese    

Age: 25

Location Image was Captured: Somerville, Massachusetts    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A woman sits on a wooden porch while eating and is caught in a moment of laughter. Outdoor lighting suggest a clear, bright day. Behind the woman is a glass window which reflects barren tree branches. Light catches on her forehead, cheeks, and legs indicating direct sunlight.     

What does this image mean to you?
New England winters never seem to end with the spring solstice, often with cold snaps or rainy grey days lasting all through April into early May. This image captures a moment of much needed respite from the darkness, the cold, and the physical isolation from friends who I had established a routine of sharing family dinners with. 

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? I hope more people can take time to reflect on what are the essentials in life and what is extraneous; that which may be a facade, things that no longer bring us happiness, that no longer facilitate meaningful connection or care for others. 
 

Title of Photo: Home Is Where The Buddha Is

Name: Devon Matsumoto

Ethnicity: Japanese-American

Age: 22

Date Image was Captured: 3/20/20

Time Image was Captured: 3:12:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Obaachan's home

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired?
The Obutsudan is a Buddhist Alter found in homes of priests and lay members. In the very center is a statue of Amida Buddha. To the right is an image of Shinran Shonin (the founder of Jodo-Shinshu sect). To the left is an image of Renyo Shonin (the 8th generational descendant of Shinran). On the bottom there is a bell for chanting, a candle, flowers, and incense. The Obutsudan is an aged oak brown. 

 

What does this image mean to you? 
This is a picture of my family Obutsudan (Buddhist Alter). It was hand carved by my great grandfather's friend and given to him as a gift when he left for America over 100 years ago. When my family was incarcerated in the Poston Concentration camp they left it at the Salinas Buddhist Temple in hopes that it would be kept safe from looters or people who would bring harm to it. Post-war it sat in its own room on the family farm guarded by my great grandfather's heart which trusted in Shinjin. Now, it sits in my grandma's house as a symbol of hope and resilience. While my family and I may not be able to visit our temple to be with our community, to chat the sutras, or to hear the dharma we take refuge in the idea that we are all interconnected with one another. The Japanese Buddhist community in America has been through many struggles throughout our history and time and time again our community shows how loving and strong we can be when we come together. This Obutsudan is a symbol of not only my family's resilience but the resilience of the APIA community that has continued to fight for our rights to belong in America.     

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I wish for there to be justice in the world. The outbreak of COVID-19 has shown privileged Americans the inequalities that have been built into the very structure of our society. It has also shown a large amount of Asian Americans that our "acceptance" always has and always will be conditional in the eyes of White America. My hope is that Asian Americans begin to further educate ourselves in our own history and the history of other marginalized groups to create a society where justice prevails.

Title of Photo: I'm Back from the Dead

Name: Elisa Del Rosario    

Ethnicity: Filipino    

Age: 59    

Date Image Was Captured: 5/5/20

Time Image Was Captured: 11:00:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Swedish Hospital Issaquah, WA

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? The Seattle Times caption of the photo taken by staff photographer, Ken Lambert, summarizes it well: "Michael Flor takes in the applause from staff at Swedish Issaquah on Tuesday as he's wheeled out by Dr. Anne Lipke. On March 4, Flor went to the hospital for a bad cough; he tested positive for coronavirus. Things were so dire at one point, his family was advised to say their goodbyes."

What does this image mean to you? This photo of the front page of the Seattle Times Wednesday, May 6, 2020 edition is of my husband, Michael Flor, applauded by hospital staff when he was discharged from the Swedish Hospital ICU after battling COVID 19 and its complications for two months. The image captures the celebration of a miraculous survival, but also acknowledges the dedication of medical providers who worked tirelessly and compassionately to save his life.  For that, I, our kids, and an entire community will be forever grateful!    

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
This experience has given our family, especially Michael, a second chance at renewing relationships with each other, with our friends, with our community.  It has taught us to have greater patience with things beyond our control, to be grateful for what we have and not take things and people in our lives for granted.

*Note from participant: "I need to acknowledge the Seattle Times columnist, Danny Westneat, for capturing the essence of Michael's COVID journey.  After he was released from Swedish Hospital, he had two weeks of physical and occupational therapy at a skilled nursing facility before finally coming home on May 20.  After being intubated for 28 days, his muscles had atrophied to the point he had to relearn how to breathe on his own, sit up, walk, swallow, etc.  He is determined to get better. Now, after nearly two weeks of home health care, he can now walk more than a mile and has started to cook again, a  passionate avocation."

Title of Photo: Celebrating Role Models

Name: Aryani Ong

Ethnicity: Chinese-Indonesian

Date Image was Captured: 5/24/20

Time Image was Captured: 6:51:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Rockville, MD

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
The photo shows drawings and paintings of prominent Asian Americans and emblems of their contributions to the US where the papers are layered over each other in a collage.  Drawn by K-12 students, the artwork are splashes of colors that are as bright as the futures of the burgeoning artists themselves.

What does this image mean to you? 
The collection of 70 poster art submissions by K-12 students featuring an Asian American and his/her/their contributions was significant to me on different levels. First, I grew up never having seen an Asian face on TV except for a laundry detergent commercial peddling an “ancient Chinese secret” until I was a teenager. Second, I was seized by the appearance of Helen Zia in the early 1980’s on TV; she was the path, solution and movement to me following the Vincent Chin case. I became a civil rights attorney because she represented a role model to me. Third, the absences of Asian American role models for me growing up were the driver behind my creating the poster art competition for a local school district. The collage represents a coming of age for Asian Americans, who now have grown in sufficient numbers to span different fields and blaze trails for young Asian Americans; it also denotes hope that the artists will have a venue to discover and showcase prominent Asian Americans, thereby raising the community’s visibility. 

Despite the school shutdown due to COVID-19, we volunteers were able to forge ahead with the pilot program, investing hours to center the students in the middle of an effort that involved the school district, board and community organizations. The photo is a triumph over the logistical challenges that we faced and a triumph of spirit to creating meaning for Asian American and Pacific Heritage Month. 

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I would like to see a time where Asian Americans are recognized as not only having been physically present since the 1800’s in the US, but also have made contributions to the physical, legal and societal infrastructure of this nation.

The K-12 poster art competition was timely because it gave students a sense of pride at a time that their peers were being bullied for being the mistaken source of the COVID-19 virus.   Emerging from this difficult experience, I hope that it is the collective rising of Asian Americans to tell their stories such as in this competition that will inoculate us against hate in the future."

Title of Photo: Where do you want to be today?

Name: Edward Wong    

Ethnicity: Chinese American

Age: 69

Date Image was Captured: 4/14/20

Time Image was Captured: 11:00:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Oakland, CA  

 

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A man stands on a yoga mat pretending to row a gondola while his wife sits demurely on the mat.

What does this image mean to you? 
One of the hardest things about life during COVID-19 is the abrupt cancellation of travel. We were set to visit Paris and London this June.  We sent this picture out to recall happier times when we enjoyed an afternoon in the Venice canals. Don't surrender to sadness and anxiety. Find the funny where you can. Ciao!

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
We all share one world.

Title of Photo: Social Distancing by Hanging Out at Cemeteries

Name: Judy Tseng

Ethnicity: Taiwanese

Date Image was Captured: 4/28/20    

Location Image was Captured: Wake Memorial Park

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Children blowing bubbles at Wake Memorial Park cemetery, Cary, North Carolina.

What does this image mean to you? 
Despite the somber news of deaths everywhere, we found joy and peace at local cemeteries near our home.

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
Caring about each other's health.

 

Title of Photo: Mulberry Promise

Name: Pollyanna Macchiano    

Ethnicity: Filipino/Sicilian

Date Image was Captured: 5/13/20

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A watercolor painting of an outstretched yellow palm floating in a blue sky with white clouds. There is a purple egg sitting in the middle of the hand, and a mulberry branch with four burgundy berries on it. 

What does this image mean to you? 
I started this watercolor painting in January 2018 and got stuck after I completed the hand. I wanted to give it a background, but couldn’t decide—so I left it blank. I took a photo of the unfinished painting and brought it into Photoshop Sketch to try out different digital backgrounds; one of the versions eventually turned into a risograph print in 2019 while I was in San Francisco, but the watercolor was abandoned.

In 2020, while quarantined in Brooklyn, I dug through my old portfolio and found the original painting. I saw it with fresh eyes and gathered a new appreciation for the work I started. The extended period of time in my apartment compelled me to find inspiration in what I already had: a value of nature and potential for growth. The mulberry branch with ripe berries, speckled purple egg, and dreamy blue sky were all added in a few days, signifying a renewed confidence in my instincts and creativity. 

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I want to continue to trust in my instincts as an artist and to go with the flow of my creativity.     

 

Title of Photo: Taking care of business

Name: Richard Ida

Ethnicity: Japanese American

Date Image was Captured: 6/25/20

Time Image was Captured: 8:30:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: my back yard

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
It is starting to get dark outside so we have the porch light on. I am sitting in a chair on our wooden deck and I'm wearing a purple cape and a mask. The person cutting my hair is also wearing a mask and is leaning over to cut my hair. 

What does this image mean to you? 
Being socially isolated and not caring about what you look like only goes so far! My hair was getting long and it finally reached a point where I thought I needed to do something. Luckily my wife's hairdresser had to stop by the house to deliver some stuff and offered to bring her scissors and give me a professional cut! It's interesting how just getting a hair cut can make you feel better - kind of like joining civilization again! 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I really want new leadership so we can have some hope of making things better before we reach the breaking point. I watch the news constantly and get so frustrated with what I see.

Title of Photo: Living History

Name: Jordan Agricula

Ethnicity: Filipino-American

Age: 29

Date Image was Captured: 5/3/20

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
This picture is actually a collage of Filipino dishes including Chicken Adobo, Laing, Dinuguan (Filipino Pork Blood Stew), Pork Guisantes, Lumpia, Sinigang, Pancit, Lechon Kawali, and Sigsig Kawali.    

What does this image mean to you? 
To many, this may just seem like a collage of Filipino dishes. However, to me, each dish represents moments of living history. Even though cooking methods may have changed, ingredients may have added or taken out, or new dishes have been created all together over the generations that my family has been in the United States. Each dish represents an opportunity to engage with my Filipino heritage, a lesson learned about family history, as well as a new memory of love and connection that helps empower me in moments of doubt.    

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
My hope is that as time goes by, we continue to support our local businesses and restaurants because they are truly the ones that make up the fabric of our communities. I hope that we continue to make strives to take care of our most vulnerable members of our society. I hope that we continue to appreciate the work that continues to get done by all of those who have been deemed essential workers throughout this crisis. I hope that we continue to fight to improve our national healthcare system. I hope that we as a society are able to expand our view of inclusion of all of things to those past our nation’s arbitrary borders. Finally, I hope that people use this time to find an activity or hobby that they find joy in and remember to continue to find time for this as well slowly move back into “normalcy”.

 

Title of Photo: No Name Submitted

Name: Edward Wong    

Ethnicity: Chinese American

Age: 69

Date Image was Captured: 4/23/20

Time Image was Captured: 3:30:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Oakland, CA

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A young lady smiles as she dances in front of a laptop computer connecting her to a dance class via Zoom.

What does this image mean to you? 
We find joy where we can during lockdown. My daughter Sara was sheltering in place with me away from her friends at her residential home for disabled adults. Here, she enjoys a dance class with housemates via zoom.

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I'd like to see a more compassionate world where we learn to care for one another.

 

Title of Photo: Three quarantine selves

Name: Suneel Agerwala

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
The same women is found three times in this forest landscape.

Title of Photo: Learning to Cook during Quarantine

Name: Jennifer Nguyen

Ethnicity: Chinese American

Age: 33

Date Image was Captured: 5/15/20

Time Image was Captured: 6:26:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Wallingford Neighborhood, Seattle, WA

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Home cooking. A single eggroll not in eggroll form, very burnt from over frying.     

What does this image mean to you? 
This photo shows a very burnt eggroll. My parents own a Chinese restaurant and they would never let me and my siblings cook. I have since moved away from home with zero cooking skills, which would normally be ok to get some yummy goods that remind me of home, but in quarantine, my go to resturants are closed due to COVID-19. I had to take matters into my own hands and try to cook. Thankfully, my Dad and Mom offered to help me and my partner out by giving us virtual "cooking lessons." This photo represents a very burnt egg roll (only 2 survived the first batch), but one I will always remember because it allowed my parents and I to connect and share a story during quarantine. I tried to cook these again the next day and they turned out great. It also allowed me to be more determined in my cooking and to never give up! I am glad I didn't because they were delicious!

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I hope that through this virus, we continue to connect with those we care about and get creative to connect. This is just the start!     

 

Title of Photo: Aloo Dom, Spicy Lemon Daal, and Fried Apple Skins

Name: Sasen Cain

Ethnicity: South Asian

Age: 37

Date Image was Captured: 6/3/20

Time Image was Captured: 11:54:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: My dining room

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Homemade Indian food is plated in a trendy, haute cuisine fashion. In the center of the plate is a potato curry, surrounded by a ring of Basmati rice. Six dollops of dark lentils decorate the rice. The fried apple skins are arranged radially, like the hours of a clock.

What does this image mean to you? 
Growing up, Aloo Dom was my favorite curry, but I'd never made it until CoVID-19. During this crisis I've devoted time to learning to plate my food as if I were at a fancy, trendy restaurant. I'm learning to love my culture.

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I hope that we learn to love and respect our cultures and traditions more. I hope that we take the time to make these traditions our own. I know many people would simply like the quarantine to end, but I hope we find ways to enjoy our time "locked" indoors, and practice new skills and hobbies.    

Title of Photo: Thunderbirds Salute Essential Workers

Name: Glenn Asakawa

Ethnicity: Japanese American    

Date Image was Captured: 4/18/20

Time Image was Captured: 1:50:00 PM

Location Image was Captured: Boulder, CO     

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Air Force Thunderbird jets fly in formation with jet trails marking their trajectory as they fly over Boulder and other parts of the state to honor essential workers.

What does this image mean to you? 
This photo represents an uplifting moment where thousands of Coloradans got to experience the flyover of the Air Force Thunderbirds in various parts of the state to honor essential workers, especially medical and first responders against COVID-19. Though it was brief, I think it brought hope and determination to those on the ground.

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
More empathy and compassion for all people. And universal healthcare. And voting out the current President, who has exacerbated all aspects of the worst of the virus and humanity in this country.     

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
Air Force Thunderbird jets fly in formation with jet trails marking their trajectory as they fly over Boulder and other parts of the state to honor essential workers.

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