BON was commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative, where I was invited to participated in their Pearl Street Micro Project program. The event took place during Philly’s First Friday event on August 04, 2017 at 5:00 – 8:30 pm.
Video by Andrew Tran @tranphotog
The project was influenced by my time growing up in Okinawa Japan where my family practiced in the Obon Festival honoring the spirits of passed ancestors and loved ones during a three days period around August 14-17th depending on the lunar calendar.
I invited the public to come to a community potluck to share a meal together in respect for the dead. Pictured above is a dish made by Yvonne Lung AAI Social Practice in Residency who learned her grandmother’s recipe from her mother. You can learn more about Yvonne’s DISH project here where she is using food as a vehicle for storytelling and preserving family and cultural tradition.
I worked with the students in the Young Arts Workshop (YAW) at AAI, talking about the tradition of Obon Festival in Okinawa and asking them to share their stories and memories of similar pratices in their own communities. Also, there was a lantern making station during the event where messages could be created to send to passed loved ones.
Following the potluck was a brief lantern lighting ceremony. A lantern making station was setup where participants were asked to draw and write messages they wanted to send to their passed loved ones.
Taiko performance by Therese Stephen of KyoDaiko Japanese taiko drumming group in Philidephia.
Before the event there was an open call to the community to send in images and songs of friends, family, and those who were close that have passed and would like to be remembered. Below is the sequence of images played during the event.
There was also a YouTube playlist compiled of the songs sent in that played during the potluck.
Photos by Andrew Tran @tranphotog