MOCATalks with photographer Katie Salisbury - Thank You Enjoy

Thu, Mar 7, 2019 @ 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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In 2016, photographer Katie Salisbury began capturing the lives of Chinese restaurant workers in New York. The project was inspired by a simple question: If Chinese takeout is so popular in America, why do we know so little about the people who work in the industry? In the process of bringing the project to life she also discovered a forgotten piece of her own family’s history. Her great-grandfather Gee Kee Ward, an immigrant from Toisan, China, had himself owned and operated a Chinese restaurant across from Union Station in Los Angeles during the 1940s. The resulting photos tell the stories of cooks, delivery workers, waiters, and community organizers who work in the Chinese restaurant industry. Ultimately, the images challenge viewers to consider the working conditions and personal sacrifices of Chinese immigrants while reconsidering what it means to be American.

 

Katie Salisbury is a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn. Her work has been published in The Ringer, Marie Claire, VICE, Refinery29, Lucky Peach, Roads & Kingdoms, The Rumpus, On Being, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and elsewhere. As a storyteller, she is most often drawn to narratives that explore culture, food, identity, and the lives of extraordinary women. As a Spring 2017 TED Resident, she gave a TED Talk titled "As American as Chop Suey" about her photojournalism project on Chinese restaurant workers in New York. The photos and stories of these workers are collected in the exhibition Thank You Enjoy, which will travel to Los Angeles and other cities in 2019. Katie is half English-Irish, half Chinese and a fourth-generation Chinese American.