The Museum of Chinese in America maintains an extensive archive and collection of Chinese American artifacts and oral histories. MOCA Mondays will briefly highlight one image or item from the collection. For more information, visit our website.
MOCA’s Fly to Freedom Collection includes 123 paper sculpture created by passengers of the ship Golden Venture. The Golden Venture ran aground on June 6, 1993 and a significant portion of the nearly 300 passengers were held in detention by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, some for up to four years. Detainees created sculptures first as gifts to pro-bono lawyers who took up their cases, and later, to pass time during the long days spent incarcerated. Sculptures vary in design and subject matter, including simple pineapples to more complex forms like eagles, which supporters began to call “freedom birds.” While connected to a specific immigrant experience, this collection illuminates the development, transmission, evolution, and maintenance of an often over-looked traditional art form.