Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Before my travel to the Pacifics, G and I embarked on a new project together. We hand painted Yuri Kochiyama in her younger days. If you don't know who Yuri is, she became a civil rights activist in the 60's. She and her husband Bill were in the internment camps in WWII, and later got active with the Harlem Parents Committee, and later Malcolm X died as she cradled his head. She is almost 90 years old and still active, writing letters to political prisoners.

She is the most prominent Asian American civil rights activist ever. The style of the painting is that we didn't use any brushes - it's all made by dipping our hands in paint and putting it on the canvas. We wanted to ask other friends to participate by putting their hands on the painting too because it's a tribute - in the same way her hands laid the foundation for our work, our hands can honor her contributions.

We were partly inspired by the work of modern american artist,Chuck Close, who recreated photos with paint, by concentrating on tiny pieces - one dot at a time. But instead of using fingertips, we used our whole hands.

But most of all, it means a lot to us because me & G met when we were at UMass. Chuck Close used to teach there. The Asian American center there is called the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center. I think most of us who put our hands on the painting, we learned who Yuri was when we were in college, when we developed our Asian American political identity. It all comes together, and this project was the perfect thing for us to do together!

With me & G as the lead artists, we've had contributions from: VyVy Trinh, Theresa Vu, Chengyang Lor, Mike Keo, Wameng Lor, Theresa Hwang, Sophea Khem, Eugene Shih, Chun Fai Chan, Chintra Pich, Lyna Sun, Christophe Lim, Pywat Tan, Mealear Tan, and Morodoc Tan.

On May 19, Yuri turns 88 years old: that's the day we bring this project to a close.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grown-Up Party #2

G and I started drinking wine after we got married. we thought that drinking wine would make us look's kind of like smoking for 13 year olds, but for married couples.

the first bottle of wine we bought was on our honeymoon. we had a yellowtail shiraz in maui...and we hated it! we thought it tasted so terrible, and we didn't know why yellowtail was a popular brand.

but last week we tried yellowtail shiraz again, and we liked it this time! imagine that! i guess we didn't develop a tongue for wine yet when we first got married, but over the past 3 years, we learned how to drink it.

so this past weekend, we held a winetasting party to honor my brother's birthday. it was called "Plonkasaurus Rex." Plonk is a term used to mean the cheapest wine you can find, so we encouraged all guests to bring a bottle of wine under $12 and we would rate them and find winners.

the categories were: best red, best white, best new world, best dressed, and ultimate champion. my cuz lyna won 4 of the 5 with the salice salentino. and chloe won for best white with her delceoro. congratulations to the winners!

also, it wouldn't be a tek production if there wasn't a lot of food! my cousins kunthea and sokea helped by rolling shrimp and pork summer rolls, and G made his famous junk food sliders (little baby hamburgers) and soleak and map helped assemble the mini fish and steak tacos. chintra made a fruit salad - eaten by my sister's kids before any other guests arrived! i also made a khmer beef dish called kaw-koh, stewed with anise, clove, paprika, and secret ingredients for several hours, and served with vienna bread.

also, dessert was brought by sabrina (lollipop cheesecake) and chloe (cheesecake cheesecake) - and a birthday sheet cake for my brother and my cousin. look at the ridiculous picture on the cake. i told the guy to make the guy's skin brownish yellow because he's asian, but he just used regular white people color and did this to his eyes! this doesn't look like my brother at all! when G picked up the cake, he called to tell me, but he was laughing too hard.

Check out this slideshow, taken by my favorite photographer-Eugene and his crew-delia, theresa, hsindy and victor.

look below for some more pictures: