Skip to main content

Festival of Lanterns

Festival of Lanterns

Festival of Lanterns

Hosted by the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, & Native American Studies Center and in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the “Festival of Lanterns” exhibit presents Chinese brush painting on colorful lanterns. In Chinese culture, lanterns play a big role in heralding the arrival of the Lunar New Year. It is widely believed that hanging lanterns brings good luck and prosperity. 

The lanterns are created by the members of the Chan Lim Family of Artists. They are best-known for their Asian-themed art with a particular focus on Chinese brush painting. The family has been actively engaged in the arts for more than half a century to date. The three generations of the Chan Lim Family use a multitude of media, styles, and techniques to incorporate Western into Eastern art. Over the years, they have continuously pushed the envelope on the type of media used for the Chinese brush. Their art subjects have included traditional brush painting themes, such as flora, fauna, landscape, even portraits. These themes can be seen in most of the family’s art, as well as their students. The “Festival of Lanterns” exhibit is a continuity of the "21@2021" virtual lantern exhibit launched last year. 

Donate to AAACNA

Explore Festival of Lanterns in Virtual Reality ("21@2021")

Note: (Firefox is recommended) As you explore, use the W (forward), A (left), S (backward), and D (right) keys to navigate the room. Use keys Q and E or click your mouse to rotate. 

Special Virtual Event & Demonstration

This recorded virtual event features opening remarks from Kathryn Blackmer Reyes, Director of the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center. Exhibit curator, artist, and faculty member, Dr. Bobbi Makani from the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at SJSU discusses Chinese culture through the lens of Chinese brush painting followed by a live demonstration from two exhibit artists, Dr. Felix Chan Lim from Stanford University Continuing Studies Program and Dr. Alex Chan Lim. The event concludes with a live demonstration of the virtual reality exhibit from Jon Oakes, Technology Labs Coordinator at SJSU King Library. 

Curators of "21@2021"

Bobbi Makani

“VR isn't just for gaming, it can be for art exhibits, too. Something I didn't realize before is how having our exhibit online still allows us to have interactive experiences in virtual environments. What I'm most excited about is how users will be able to interact with the art pieces by picking up some of lanterns and examining them close-up. Having this exhibit online has prompted Felix and I to explore ways to integrate technology into our art and find creative solutions."

– Bobbi Makani-Lim, Ph.D. 

Felix Chan Lim

“The '21@2021' Virtual Exhibit allowed me to think outside of the box and taught me how to integrate technology and art. For example, I've learned how photogrammetry can make a huge difference in virtual environments. What might seem like little changes in reflection, light, angles, and other elements can be drastic in how real a virtual environment feels to users. What I'm most excited about is showing this exhibit to a wider audience and being able to share with others how we were able to converge technology and art."

– Felix Chan Lim, Ph.D.

Kathryn Blackmer Reyes

"This online exhibit is part of the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American (AAACNA) Studies Center’s work to bring forth diverse voices through our exhibits. I am honored that Prof. Makani and Lim for sharing their work and for bringing their cultural art to this VR environment. Originally, this exhibit was to have been a physical exhibit in 2020 but obviously plans changed. While the physical exhibit would have been an exciting and exuberating experience, the VR platform provides for a new dimension for an up close look at the artistry created by the Chan Lim Family. My thanks to the wonder team of people that help make this VR experience as well."

— Kathryn Blackmer Reyes, Librarian & Director, AAACNA Studies Center

Jon Oakes

"At the start of the pandemic, we were challenged to find a way to showcase exhibits in a virtual environment. It forced all of us to reexamine how we host exhibits and how to visually tell a story in this digital world. Together, with Bobbi and Felix, we came up with a plan to create 3D models of the artwork. It is gratifying to finally share this work which was created over many months of trial and error. All in all, over 500 hours of human and computer time were used to create the scenes, render the lanterns, and place the artwork in the galleries."

— Jon Oakes, Technology Labs Coordinator