How disheartening it was to find out that among the list of illustrious past Kennedy Center Honorees, not one Asian American could be found. It doesn’t mean there are any shortage of talented or accomplished Asian American artists for the panel of judges to consider for future awards, though.
For today’s love we thought we’d recognize a couple of phenomenally successful Asian and Asian American artists who we think are more than qualified for future awards which recognize a set of people who, as Kennedy Center Chair David Rubenstein said, “have spent their lives enriching, inspiring and elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.”
For starters, we think very highly of Maya Lin, the artist and architect most famous for designing the Vietname Veterans’ War Memorial in Washington, D.C. thirty years ago while still in art school. Since then she’s gone on to a successful career in architecture, but has also fit in the kinds of monuments that memorialize, but never enshrine, this country’s political history. Lin also designed the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. President Obama clearly already knows how talented Lin is. He awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
And then there’s Yo-yo Ma, the renowned Chinese-American cellist. Playwright David Henry Hwang’s legendary M. Butterfly makes him a qualifier, we think. We also can’t hide our admiration for the Booker Prize-winning novelist and activist Arundhati Roy. (Fair game, we think, if they can honor a Brit like Paul McCartney.) Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston are two literary heroes who also happen to be Asian-American.
Consider this list a handful of free ideas of future nominees for the folks at the Kennedy Center. Throw your own ideas in the comments—because we know they’d never mean to overlook the contributions of these artists, writers and musicians, right?
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