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Everyday Chinatown

Sparking Collective Memory


New York City, NY

Everyday Chinatown storefront exhibits spark conversation and explore collective memory

The everyday object is a beautiful way to explore collective memory… bagua – octagonal fengshui mirror, baihuayou –white flower oil, pipagao – loquat syrup… Since 2018, Think! Chinatown has been working with artists and community members to create a community gallery of objects found in everyday life in NYC’s Chinatown.  Historically, the artifacts have been displayed in shopfront windows, accompanied by a cellphone audioguide system that plays back stories that have been recorded in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.  For visitors, these displays and stories allow them to learn more even if they might not have the chance to speak with someone who lives in the neighborhood.  More importantly, the stories allow residents, including neighborhood seniors, to represent themselves and their lived experiences.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Think! Chinatown worked with 4 AAPI artists in 2020 to interpret the artifacts through animated illustrations available here: https://www.thinkchinatown.org/everyday