“Elder Voices: Chinatown Legacy Businesses” features stories and portraits from six cultural keepers whose businesses have been and continue to be Chinatown pillars. Oral histories will feature stories about the legacy and contributions of Cam Ahn Restaurant, Green Fish Market, Draline Tong Herbs, Yuen Hop Market, Imperial Soup, and the Great China (1950s). Featuring photos by Chinatown Pretty photographer, Andria Lo.
This exhibition will be available to view during OACC’s business hours (Wednesday-Saturday, 12 PM -5 PM).
Join us for the opening reception of this extraordinary exhibition on Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 1 PM featuring a screening of Drawn from Life: The Creative Legacy of Flo Oy Wong, a brief discussion with the exhibition curators, and food from a few of the featured local businesses!
About Drawn from Life: The Creative Legacy of Flo Oy Wong (20 minutes)
As the sixth daughter of Chinese immigrants living in Oakland’s Chinatown in the 1940s-1960s, Flo Oy Wong was determined to break free of a life of pre-destined invisibility. She began her art career at the age of forty. Her poetry career started at seventy-five. Now eighty-five, her life came full circle when The Community Rejuvenation Project proposed to paint a mural of her at 723 Webster in Oakland, the former site of her family’s restaurant, The Great China. In this film, Flo’s beginnings in Oakland’s Chinatown come to life once more— this time through the eyes of another artist.
Raised in Alaska and Texas, Andria Lo a freelance editorial and commercial photographer now based in San Francisco Bay Area. With a background in studio art with a degree from University of California Berkeley, her first photo book, Chinatown Pretty, was published in fall of 2020 by Chronicle Books. For more information, visit http://www.andrialo.com/about.
William Gee Wong
William Gee Wong is a print journalist, author, and amateur historian. A native of Oakland, California’s Chinatown, William was previously a journalist for The Wall Street Journal (1970-1979), The Oakland Tribune (1979-1996). He also wrote for The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco News Call Bulletin, San Francisco Examiner, East West: the Chinese American Journal, and Asian Week. William is the author of Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America, Images of America: Oakland’s Chinatown, and co-author of Images of America: Angel Island, and his forthcoming book Sons of Chinatown, A Memoir Rooted in China and America to be released in Spring 2024. For more information, visit https://www.williamgeewong.com.
Flo Oy Wong
Flo Oy Wong, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Asian American Women Artists Association, is an artist, poet, and educator. She is a recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts awards, and has been a visiting artist at various colleges and universities. She has also been featured in articles in multiple publications. Growing up in Oakland Chinatown, she spoke her family’s ancestral dialect, Hoisan-wa. In 2018, Flo published her art and poetry book, Dreaming of Glistening Pomelos, inspired by her childhood. Contemporary Asian Theater Scene presented Wong with their 2022 Image Hero Award.
Nellie Wong has published four books: Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park, The Death of Long Steam Lady, Stolen Moments, and Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Her poems and essays appear in numerous journals and anthologies, including This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, and excerpts from two poems have been permanently installed at public sites at the San Francisco Municipal Railway. A building at Oakland High School is named after her, she is co-featured in the documentary film, Mitsuye and Nellie Asian American Poets, and a poem of hers was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She traveled to China in the First American Women Writers Tour with Alice Walker, Tillie Olsen, and Paule Marshall, among others. She taught at Mills College and the University of Minnesota, and is the recipient of the 2022 PEN Oakland/Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award.
Roy Chan is an Oakland-based oral historian and urban planner committed to using the power of storytelling to build community and empower local residents to have a voice in the local decision-making process. Since 2007, he has been director of the Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project/ AAPI Elder Voices Project and was previously Co-Executive Director at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Roy has previously practiced architecture and city planning in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, and is currently a program director at National CAPACD. Learn more at www.chinatownmemories.org
This exhibition is made possible by the support of the Senior Assistance Foundation Eastbay (SAFE).