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Photographer Adam Stoltman spent years exploring Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities throughout America. Working closely with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Stoltman captured stunning portraits of the people and rituals of communities highly impacted by political, social and health policies. The images also represent Stoltman’s goals of drawing awareness to these unique cultures who struggle to preserve their roots and identity, and bridging the gap to a nation united by common values that connect and benefit us all.
Stoltman’s exhibition, titled ‘Capturing Culture: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Community in American Culture and Society,’ was on display this April in Washington DC at the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. Duggal Visual Solutions mounted Stoltman’s prints to quarter-inch Sintra along with providing lamination, direct-to-Sintra printing and custom table displays.“The work began in 2006 with the then-largest grant made to an Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander organization by a national foundation, creating the Health Through Action initiative. Health Through Action (HTA) became a vehicle for community building, not only locally but nationally, bringing together 18 CBOs in 15 states to learn about each other’s communities, to build from each other’s programs, and to develop collectively the means and methods of raising the needs and voices of our communities to policy makers at the local, state, and national levels. Along the way, Adam was quietly present, documenting the conditions of each of the communities and chronicling the struggles, the joys, and the journeys of each of these communities. For some, the journey has been of thousands of miles over continents and many countries. For others, it has been a journey of the heart to reconnect to the land that they have always stood upon but were disconnected from, a journey that has been about reclamation of so many things, including the soul. Adam has helped us see and understand — in a different way from grant reports and conference calls — the impact of our work to support our communities nationwide. He has revealed the spirit of the people who are affected by policies which render them invisible, but in his images, the impact is clearly visible.” – Kathy Ko Chin President and CEO Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum “During the course of the Health Through Action program, I was asked to spend time documenting and producing images that reflect the human face of some of the populations served by the various grantee organizations. The photographs you see here were taken in over 14 communities that I visited nationwide. In a larger context, this work reflects a growing reality about America. Aside from the broad national issue of healthcare and our access to it, more than ever our nation is a melting pot of various communities, each bringing cultural strengths and vibrancy to the American tapestry, yet each also struggling to maintain traditional and cultural roots in a dynamic sea of diversity and modernity. The work that strengthens the overall health of these communities does a service to us all, for we all benefit in terms of the greater contributions that healthy individuals and communities can make. The more we recognize common values between cultures and a mutual stake in beneficial outcomes, the stronger we become as a nation and people. In many communities, these local organizations provide a vital link to access to services and, equally important, a sense of connection and belonging that is integral to health in the broadest sense. Policy advocates and community health workers work each day with the empirical tools of research, quantitative analysis, and data that are used to help influence and shape policy. As a photographer, documentarian, and storyteller, I am armed with my camera and a sense of common humanity that underlies the work. Although I am not of Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent, I have found the process of documenting each of these communities to be enriching, educational, and profoundly uplifting and inspiring. Most importantly, it is the identification I have felt with many of the individuals I have photographed and the consistently warm welcome I have received that has been most rewarding. It is said that in photographs, we can often see ourselves in the face of the other. It is this sense of commonality that makes me most hopeful for our collective future.” – Adam Stoltman Discover more about the Capturing Culture Exhibit – http://www.apiahfcapturingculture.com/