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The Last Hoisan Poets' Tribute to Hung Liu

July 2, 2022, 1:00 pm2:00 pm
Last Hoisan Poets

Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim (from left to right). Courtesy of the Last Hoisan Poets

Wilsey Court

American Born / Resident Alien is a poetry performance by the Last Hoisan Poets — Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim — exploring themes of migration, sisterhood, and spiritual transcendence. Held in conversation with Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門), this program is inspired by personal and ancestral connections with Hung Liu’s life and art. The performance also features music by violinist Charlton Lee and cellist Kathryn Bates of the Del Sol String Quartet. 

About the Last Hoisan Poets

The Last Hoisan Poets — Genny Lim, Nellie Wong, and Flo Oy Wong — trace their roots to China’s Toisan villages, home of the Hoisan-wa (a.k.a. Toisanese/Taishanese) Chinese dialect. They conduct special poetry readings in English and Hoisan-wa, to pay homage to their mother language which is at risk of fading from collective memory.

Genny Lim is the recipient of two lifetime achievement literary awards from PEN Oakland and the city of Berkeley. She has also served as San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate and San Francisco Arts Commissioner. Lim’s award-winning play, Paper Angels, the first Asian American play to air on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985, has been performed throughout the US, Canada, and China. She is the author of five poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War, Paper Gods and Rebels, KRA!, La Morte Del Tempo, and co-author, with the late Him Mark Lai and Judy Yung, of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, winner of the American Book Award in 1980. 

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.

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 poetry writing at Mills College and women's studies at the University of Minnesota.

About Charlton Lee and Kathryn Bates

Charlton Lee and Kathryn Bates are an energetic duo making music together as founding violist and longtime cellist of the Del Sol Quartet. The internationally-acclaimed quartet is a leading force in the Bay Area music scene, championing music by living artists that explores aspects of social change, technology, and artistic innovation. Del Sol has premiered thousands of works, released 12 albums, and produces vibrant productions and educational experiences. Charlton and Kathryn are the powerful team behind the quartet’s recent “Angel Island Project.”

About the exhibition

Born in Changchun, China, in 1948, Hung Liu grew up under the Maoist regime. Trained in the Socialist Realist style of painting, she elevates the subjects of archival photographs, recreating them in the grand scale and lyrical style of history painting. Challenging primary sources, officially sanctioned documents, and revisionist accounts, Liu foregrounds displaced and wandering people frequently left out of traditional historical narratives and resurfaces stories lost to time. In Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門), her site-specific installation combining existing and new work in Wilsey Court, Liu highlights international and domestic narratives of migration. Reimagining some of her most iconic paintings, such as Resident Alien, through the lens of her personal trajectory, she places herself among and celebrates the people who arrived in California from both land and sea.

COVID-19 guidance 

Masking is strongly recommended but no longer required for members of the public or employees while in the museum.

Ticket Information

This is a free event. Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門) is located in the de Young's Wilsey Court, a space free to the public.

Contact Information

Public Programs
(415) 750-7694