Dish is a social practice project that invites participants to learn favorite home made dishes made by their elders.
When my grandmother passed away, my cousin talked about how whenever he visited her, she would always make his favorite dish, zha jiang mien. He claimed that he never tasted a better version, and lamented how he will never be able to taste it again. I thought to myself, “how come none of us learned to make this dish from grandma?”
Memory is an important part of this project. When my cousin talked about my grandma's zha jiang mien, he talked about during his college years when he visited her, she would always make a batch for him to bring back to school so that he can have it for a few more days. I believe that this was one of the reason why this dish was so important to him, how at the time, it was not only his favorite dish by her, but also the love that carried with it.
In Dish, participants interview their elders to learn about the dish, the process to make it, the stories behind it, and then video document the learning process. Dish not only allows the participant to learn these homemade dishes but also helps strengthen the bond between the generations. Dish is an ongoing project where I hope to collect as many stories behind these dishes and share the recipes.
Dish has been supported in part by the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Grant, and Asian Arts Initiative’s Social Practice Lab Artist-in-Resident.
About the Artists
Yvonne Lung is an interdisciplinary artist with work ranging from sculpture, performance, video, to social practice. She received her MFA from University of Nevada Las Vegas, and her BFA from Texas Tech University. Artist residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Art Omi International Artist Residency, Many Mini Residency, and Asian Arts Initiative’s Social Practice Lab Artist in Resident. She was a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Grant in 2008 and 2015, a Jackpot grant by The Nevada Arts Council, and was awarded the Fleisher Art Memorial’s Wind Challenge Exhibition in 2008. She has exhibited and curated in various places including, California, Texas, Nevada, Washington, Maine, and Pennsylvania. She was a co-founder of Practice Gallery from 2012-17, a space that seeks to support artist practices that focus on performance, participation, and experiment. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and is the General Manager for Nichole Canuso Dance Company. She is a member of the Philadelphia Chinatown Dragon Boat Team and resides in Philadelphia with her partner Dustin, who is also an artist.
To see other artworks by Yvonne, please visit www.yvonnelung.com.
Tianyao Ma is the video intern for Dish and is responsible for editing and subtitling the videos from the participants for this project. She is a documentary filmmaker from China. Graduating with a B.A degree in film/TV production, she is currently pursuing an MFA degree at Temple University. Passionate about visual anthropology and documentary art, her works mainly focus on marginal groups who are unable to hold their voices. She believes that film has its social responsibility and will lead to change.
Mary Rose Zuppo is the graphic design intern for Dish and is responsible for Dish’s website and printed materials. She is currently an undergraduate at Temple University, pursuing her BFA in Graphic Design at Tyler School of Art. She enjoys sunsets, long walks on the beach, and candle lit dinners.
About the Groups
Philadelphia Chinatown Dragon Boat Team
Yvonne has been a member of the Philadelphia Chinatown Dragon Boat Team since 2011. The team embraces anyone who is interested in the sport and the culture of dragon boating, but is also a community building team where both youth, elders, people of various backgrounds are welcome. Yvonne has been slowly working with members of this community on Dish and hopes to continue to do so.
YAW is the Youth Arts Workshop by Asian Arts Initiative. It provides art-making opportunities and a safe space for Asian American teens and fellow students from all backgrounds to share their experiences and connect with a sense of community. The goal of YAW is for teens in the program gain greater understanding of their own and each other’s experience, develop critical thinking skills through dialogue and storytelling, find ways to incorporate their experience and understanding into their art, and demonstrate improvement in specific artistic skills. YAW’s tuition fee is on a sliding scale, pay-what-you-can basis where students have an option to pay between $0 to the maximum suggested fee. Yvonne worked with the 2017 summer YAW program students on Dish, and on the last day cooked with the students to recreate these dishes for the end of summer YAW celebration.
Central High School
Located in the Logan section of Philadelphia, PA, Central High School is a four-year university preparatory magnet school. Through the invitation of Kenneth Hung, a social studies teacher at Central High, Yvonne worked with his Immigration History homeroom. The purpose of the Immigration History homeroom is to enable students to deepen their understanding of key themes in the U.S. immigration history. In doing so, students examine the topic from multiple perspectives, focusing on how the history and current issues facing immigrant groups in the U.S. are interconnected with systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism. Through their participation in the Dish students are able to accomplish these goals by comparing the different immigration histories of their families and while developing meaningful relationships with participating family members.