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Mira Loma’s 2022 Asian Art Fair: A Brief Recap

Mira Loma’s annual Asian Art Fair, held recently on Friday, January 28 in the quad, is one of many ways that diversity and culture are celebrated on our campus. Throughout most of the day, works of visual and performing art showcased the colorful, diverse Asian culture. Contributions to this event came from a collaboration of the Visual and Performing Arts classes, the International Studies program, English, Japanese, and Chinese language classes, and a myriad of student-led Asian culture clubs on campus. 

Mira Loma’s school choir performed during the event, with their rendition of a famous Korean folk song called “Doraji Taryeong”. The meaning of the song offers insight into and appreciation for Korean culture. Doraji is a bitter white root native to the hillsides in Korea, and it normally blooms into a beautiful star-shaped flower during the spring season. The folk song tells the tale of a forager searching for the Doraji root deep within the mountains. The forager ultimately feels satisfied after gathering a total of two roots, despite the plant’s bitter taste. This song holds great cultural significance, especially with the overall idea of finding beauty through difficulty.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to immerse themselves in multiple other cultural activities and events. The Mira Loma band provided a musical backdrop for the festivities. Members of the band stated that they had been preparing for the event over the course of the entire month. One of the pieces the band performed was called The Singapore Flyer, and it was composed by Satoshi Yagisawa. The composer was inspired to create this piece in 2010 after visiting the Singapore Flyer, the largest Ferris wheel in the world. In his program notes, Yagisawa says, “I remember seeing the smiles of people of all ages and races. I was thus inspired to compose a song based upon this Ferris wheel”. He also wished to bring more appreciation for Singapore’s culture through the song. 

This piece was followed by several especially energetic performances by Mira Loma’s Taiko Drum Club, including Issho, Renshuu, and Raku. Informative booths representing many Asian countries allowed students to learn about the individual cultures that are present at Mira Loma. The displays provided information about food, customs, attire, and other details that were unique to that specific country. 

Many creative works of art including ceramic pieces, calligraphy on butterflies, art inspired by The Great Wave (a well known woodblock painting created by the Japanese artist, Hokusai, in the mid-1800s), Japanese internment camp inspired pieces, and family trees with origami were displayed for everyone to appreciate. A fashion show showcased styles from Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Palestine, Mongolia, Armenia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Laos, China, and India. 

There were also several dance performances, featuring numerous different cultures. Students from the Chinese classes helped with the dragon and lion dances, which are usually performed during traditional festivals. The dragon dance was quite popular, with one freshman stating, “I loved the dragon dance, I thought that was really impressive!” There was also a graceful and elegant performance of the traditional Chinese fan dance. Students from Mira Loma’s Desi Student Association performed a Bollywood-style fusion dance during break and lunch. Other performances included Chinese yo-yo demonstrations and poetry readings. 

Students were also given the opportunity to receive a more hands-on experience through activities such as getting a henna tattoo, folding origami, practicing calligraphy, and playing traditional games. One traditional Japanese game that was introduced was the kendama, which features a wooden handle with two attached cups, as well as a ball that is tied to the handle with a string. The objective of the game is to swing the ball and land it on the surface of the cups. Another game students enjoyed was daruma otoshi, which involves using a small hammer to knock out the bottom disc of a stack without letting the other blocks in the stack fall over. This game of skill was fun and challenging for many students.

Many students who attended the event expressed desires to form more cultural appreciation clubs at Mira Loma, so that more countries could be represented. One anonymous freshman commented, “Did you know there are 48 countries in Asia? I felt kind of mad that there was no one [representing] Filipinos.” The Philippines, along with numerous other Asian countries, were not represented at this year’s Asian Art Fair, but it is expected that next year’s event will be even more diverse. 

While many teachers allotted class time to allow students to participate in this beloved Mira Loma celebration, not everyone was able to attend. However, the event will be returning next year, and will hopefully bring the same excitement and entertainment. If you missed the Asian Art Fair this year, be sure to watch for announcements about the celebration next January and consider participating in it yourself!

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