The Chinese Historical Society of America Announces Grand Opening of the “We Are Bruce Lee: Under the Sky, One Family” Exhibition April 23-24, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO, March 11, 2022—The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) is pleased to announce the long-awaited return of San Francisco Chinatown’s native son as part of its groundbreaking exhibition, We Are Bruce Lee: Under the Sky, One Family. This multimedia collaboration between the Bruce Lee Foundation, top collectors of Bruce Lee memorabilia, and a team of artistic innovators will showcase state-of-the-art engagement to magnify the vision and values of a Chinese American icon who transcended race, geography, and culture. We Are Bruce Lee will debut as part of the re-opening of CHSA museum at 965 Clay Street in San Francisco: CHSA members are invited for a members-only viewing on Saturday, April 23; the exhibit will officially be open to the public on Sunday, April 24.
For San Francisco Chinatown, this is a proud, heartwarming homecoming for a legendary figure who was born in Chinatown’s own Chinese Hospital in 1940 and grew into an international superstar. This exhibit offers unique perspectives of Bruce beyond martial arts and acting—as a visionary, athlete, thinker, and unifier who fought discrimination with uncanny strength, unwavering resilience, and profound engagement with a multicultural society. Visitors of all ages will learn about his evolution from a kid from Hong Kong to a global pioneering entrepreneur and his immortal influence on fans and followers across generations, backgrounds, and all walks of life.
The generous contributions of the Bruce Lee Foundation, and collectors Jeff Chinn, Robert Gomez, Ken Hao, and Perry Lee present a trove of rarely seen artifacts, historic photos, handwritten letters, memorabilia, video, film, artwork, graphical displays, and multimedia technology. Collectively, this exhibit reveals Bruce’s personal philosophies on life and society—which offer relevant lessons in present day, a time currently fraught with xenophobia, racism, and social injustice.
Key selections from the artifacts on exhibit include:
- 35mm celluloid prints from each of Bruce’s movies installed in glowing light boxes;
- A custom-designed installation featuring original artifacts depicting Bruce as Kato from the TV show The Green Hornet including an original October 1966 TV Guide, the first feature of an Asian American on a nationally distributed magazine cover;
- Bruce’s personal weight bench and dumbbell set;
- Rare photos of Bruce in costume on the sets of his many films; and
- An original copy of The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce’s publication on his martial arts philosophy
The inaugural exhibition breaks ground in San Francisco with a mission to bridge communities from two historic neighborhoods—Chinatown and Fillmore/Western Addition—in an effort to tell the story of cross-community respect and collaboration. We Are Bruce Lee features an art gallery curated by African American Art & Culture Complex Co-executive Directors Melonie and Melorra Green showcasing Bruce’s influence on the Black community from the perspective of some of the Bay Area’s premier Black artists and other creatives of color.
In addition, CHSA is excited to debut the complementary Bruce Lee mural “Be the Bridge” in the museum’s Yick Gallery, produced by Bay Area art collectives Twin Walls Mural Company and Macro Waves. This expansive art piece takes inspiration from Bruce’s unifying of communities and offers a one-of-a-kind immersive experience. It utilizes artwork and animated projections by creatives from different cultural communities, including a customized soundscape and playlist by local musicians Mike Dinkins and De’Ahna Turner.
The journey to present this historic exhibition was born as a result of the challenges that Chinese Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and San Francisco Chinatown have faced over the past two years. Amid this unrelentingly difficult time for AAPIs, the hardships have become an opportunity to bring light to our community. Through We Are Bruce Lee, CHSA aims to strengthen and revitalize the Chinatown neighborhood in which Bruce was born; to amplify the Chinese American and AAPI communities; and to combat racism and hate by bringing diverse audiences together in solidarity.
As Bruce himself stated, “Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.”
Special thanks to our donors and funders, including Grants for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Office of Economic Workforce and Development, Friends of Roots, the Rose Pak Community Fund, the Candelaria Fund, Ken Hao, Anna and Wilford Hoover, Charles and Qian Huang, Jerry and Charlene Lee, the Lui Foundation, Hazel Louie, the Robert Joseph Louie Memorial Fund, Melvin Wong, Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, and Ming Zhang.
For ticket information, visit chsa.org.
The Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the presentation of Chinese American history. Since 1963, CHSA has strived to be a responsible steward of the remarkable narrative of the Chinese American community through education, programming.
The Bruce Lee Foundation was founded in 2002 by Linda Lee Cadwell and Shannon Lee, with a vision to share the art and philosophy of Bruce Lee with the world for generations to come. Today, the vision has grown to actively inspire confidence, motivate action, bridge cultures, and champion humanity. It believes that the life of Bruce Lee and the actions of the Bruce Lee Foundation can ignite positivity in the world and inspire people to embrace their uniqueness, discover their limitless potential, and help one another thrive.
Download the press release here.