Skip to main content

Artistic Expressions of East Asia: Histories and Legacies

"Cicada" by Japanese painter Omoda Seiju (1891 - 1933)


Educators joined us for this series of standalone two-hour workshops focusing on artistic expressions of East Asia.

The first session, East Asian Art History: Form, Content, and Connections on Monday, August 9, was an introductory overview of art historical concepts and forms for people who were new to East Asian art and art history and for people who were looking for a refresher.

The second session on Wednesday, August 11, Exploring Post-Growth Ways of Life: Art Festivals and Art Projects introduced recent economic and demographic trends in Japan: persistent low growth and the beginnings of population decline. As large-scale growth has faltered, many in Japan have begun to explore sustainability and local autonomy as values that are better suited to future as it is coming into view. Artists and art projects have played a major role in imagining and experimenting with new ways of life, particularly in rural areas that have suffered most under growth-centered regimes.

On Thursday, August 12, Nuclear Threats as Visualized in Art and Culture introduced works of artists, including writers and filmmakers, that illuminate and address nuclear threats in the various form they have taken post-1945, from nuclear power generation to weapons production, testing, and fallout. We focused on recent works that have been selected to give insight into the diversity of nuclear impacts around the world, but mostly focused on Japan.

The final session on Friday, August 13, The Politics of Monuments, Memorials, and Public Art introduced public art works and the politics of their making and legacies. While our examples focused mostly on East Asia, this conversation lended itself to actions taking place around the world to address the complicated histories of monuments and what happens when we question in whose honor they were erected.

Overall, this series was designed for secondary teachers in Social Studies, English, Language Arts, History, Government, and Visual Arts. Each workshop focused on a subset of the themes in the larger series and will have a different curricular focus dependent upon the topic. Elementary educators were welcome and encouraged to join as content is relevant.

This program was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center (EARC) in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington with funding from a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA)

Dates and Times

Monday, August 9; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Pacific Time): East Asian Art History: Form, Content, and Connection, led by Melanie King.

Wednesday, August 11; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Pacific Time): Exploring Post-Growth Ways of Life: Art Festivals and Art Projects, led by Justin Jesty and facilitated by Melanie King.

Thursday, August 12; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Pacific Time); Nuclear Threats as Visualized in Art and Culture, led by Justin Jesty and facilitated by Melanie King.

Friday, August 13; 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Pacific Time); The Politics of Monuments and Public Art, led by Melanie King.

These online programs were held on Zoom. Participants received a link the day before each program.

Program Leaders

Melanie King, EARC Program Leader

Justin Jesty, Associate Professor, University of Washington

Program Benefits

  • Online resources
  • 2 Washington State OSPI clock hours per session