The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) recently hosted a one-night exhibit and reception at the historic Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, Capturing Culture: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Community in American Culture and Society, is a multi-year photographic documentation project by photojournalist Adam Stoltman. The event at Sewall-Belmont House previewed the larger exhibit, set to take place for a full week in April.
Stoltman’s project uses imagery to promote cultural understanding, drawing on portraits of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and cultures as a tool for healing. The fourteen communities represented in the project were part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Health Through Action effort, designed to bolster community approaches to improving the health of vulnerable Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander children and families by strengthening community-based organizations and capitalizing on local assets to meet health needs.
Drawing on his 25 years of experience as a photographer, editor and media developer, Stoltman found that his work on this project collectively reflected “a growing reality of America… more than ever our nation is a melting pot of various communities, each bringing cultural strengths and vibrancy to the American tapestry, yet also struggling to maintain traditional and cultural roots in a dynamic sea of diversity and modernity.”
Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president of program strategy at WKKF, also spoke at the reception, providing broader context around the community-based healing efforts.