Duke hosts Corky Lee exhibition during AANHPI Heritage Month

Duke hosts Corky Lee exhibition during AANHPI Heritage MonthDuke hosts Corky Lee exhibition during AANHPI Heritage Month
via John Hope Franklin Center
Bryan Ke
25 days ago
Duke University is hosting an exhibition of Corky Lee’s photographs that document over 50 years of Asian American life and social justice movements.
Key points:
  • Duke University’s Asian/Pacific Studies Institute in Durham, North Carolina, opened the exhibition at the John Hope Franklin Center Main Gallery on April 12, ahead of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which kicked off on May 1.
  • The exhibition, titled “Corky Lee’s Asian America: 50 Years of Photographic Justice,” will be on display at the gallery from April through June.

The details:
  • Mae Ngai, a historian who served as an editor of the recently released book “Corky Lee’s Asian America: 50 Years of Photographic Justice,” shared her insights into Lee’s life and work during a conversation with Eileen Chow, a professor of Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Duke University.
  • Describing Lee as the “undisputed, unofficial Asian American photographer laureate,” Ngai shared that the late photographer witnessed significant changes in Asian American communities, from the inception of the Asian American movement in the 1970s to Stop Asian Hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lee’s photography captured both ordinary moments and singular events, such as his iconic image of Sikh community members wrapped in American flags at a post-9/11 event in New York’s Central Park.
  • Lee passed away at 73 on Jan. 27, 2021, from COVID-19 complications while in the process of completing his book project, which he started in 2011.

About Corky Lee:
  • Born on Sept. 5, 1947, in Hollis, New York, Lee attended and graduated from Queens College, where he majored in history. He became a fixture at Asian American events in the New York metropolitan area, using photography as a tool to challenge social and racial injustices.
  • Lee’s photojournalism career catapulted after his photo of the brutal beating of activist Peter Yew was printed front page of the evening paper on the New York Post the same night it happened on April 26, 1975.
  • Lee was celebrated with a Google Doodle during the AANHPI Heritage Month in May 2023.
 
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