The Wing Luke Museum’s Where Beauty Lies is a wonderful exhibit that showcases the Asian-American perspective of beauty through various mediums of artwork, such as artifacts, videos, photographs, and posters. The multitude of mediums kept the exhibit engaging: it interested me to see all the different interpretations of beauty. I loved looking at the fashionable articles of clothing from different cultures, videos of hair and makeup, and photographs of stunning models. One of my favorite pieces, two photographs of a woman with short black hair throwing her head back in laughter, represents how happiness is valuable and beautiful. Her joy makes the woman look approachable and appealing—two qualities that most people strive to achieve. Beauty is a mental state rather than a physical one.
The exhibit shows how the beauty standards that the media sets up are largely unachievable and unrealistic, especially for people of color. By showing stories about Asian-Americans accepting themselves and their culture, the exhibit inspires viewers to break free of these standards and accept themselves. One Indian woman speaks about how she decided to wear traditional Indian clothing for her wedding, describing how the clothing made her feel comfortable and empowered. She learned to never forget her identity nor try to hide it. Similarly, one room has movie posters with culturally diverse casts hanging from the ceiling. By featuring these movies, the exhibit sends a positive message about the trajectory of widening beauty standards and cultural acceptance—two things that have been historically been left out of Hollywood. One of the big influencers of cultural trends is movies, so seeing films representational of the Asian-American community inspired me to not feel limited by my race.