Tales of the American dream

Updated: 2013-06-20 10:31

By Chen jia (China Daily)

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Lee's research also received support from the Donaldina Cameron House, a Chinatown-based organization named for the missionary who provided a haven for thousands of young Chinese women throughout the Exclusion Era, women who had come to the United States imagining they'd find a better life, but instead were forced by traffickers into lives of domestic servitude or prostitution, Lee explains.

Lee says Cameron House has extensive archives that have become "my sources of artistic creation". Lee herself remembers attending their Friday night youth programs and educational services as a child.

She has spent hours in the archives, reading court documents and handwritten letters between female immigrants and the missionaries who helped them by providing shelter and gaining legal custody of women trapped in bad situations.

"My hope is to allow the stories to be a catalyst for dialogue and for sparking interest in understanding the deeper issues," Lee says.

Her work also serves as an avenue to share and rejoice in the courage, strength and resilience of the Chinese and Chinese-Americans who over the years built the vibrant Chinese-American communities into what they are today and highlight their tremendous contributions to American society, she says.

For the upcoming Rescued Memories: New York Stories project that will premiere at the de Young Museum along with The Escape on Nov 8 and 9, Lee would like to work with Asian or Asian American dancers both in the Bay Area and in New York City to develop an intergenerational chorus of dancers representing the Chinese-American community of that time period.

Lee says they will premiere both pieces in New York City in the spring of 2014.

Tales of the American dream

Tales of the American dream

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