|Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, San Francisco California USA|
It’s hard to imagine anyone not being moved by Frank Wong’s fastidiously detailed dioramas. Seeing them was exceptionally high on my list of exhibits to see in San Francisco’s Chinese Historical Society of America Museum in Chinatown.
But I admit that when I gazed at these unique visual representations of Frank Wong’s memories I was astonished.
I first heard about these diorama’s from Corey Tong, producer of Forever, Chinatown who I enjoyed the privilege of welcoming to the December 17 broadcast of Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim on 1490 WGCH Greenwich, Connecticut USA. (Click here to listen)
|Chinese Herb Shop, by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco.|
|Chinese Herb Shop, by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
Frank Wong and his amazing dioramas get center stage in Forever, Chinatown -and deservedly so.
Self-taught -and equipped with a rare gift of patience seemingly lost in our 21st century digital age- Frank has recreated his fading childhood memories by hand-building what have been described as “romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth.”
|Single-Room-Occupancy, by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
|Chinese Laundry/Tailor Shop by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
Producer/Director James Q. Chan has commented that Forever, Chinatown “takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day. A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank’s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artists’s filters and romanticized memories and emotional struggles.”
|Christmas by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
|Kitchen by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
|Chinese New Year, by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
|Shoeshine Stand by Frank Wong. Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco|
Both the film and the dioramas -now on permanent display at the Chinese Historical Society of America- are a heartwarming tribute to an exceptionally gifted soul and a resilient community that has known storm and sunshine.
I found myself smiling and touched by such uncommon expression of love for Chinatown.
When you are in the "City by the Bay" make it a priority to visit the museum and view Frank Wong’s creations.
You’ll be glad you did.
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