Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Hello Auntie, Hello Uncle' pays tribute to the elders in our lives

Yellow background with the words "Hello Auntie, Hello Uncle" in green written across it and "conversations with our elders" below it. Along with the images of glasses, a cookie tin and bottle.
Elders making dumplings at the International Community Health Services.

Nearly a quarter of residents in the Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square neighborhoods are 65 or older. That’s double the share of the population in that age group across Seattle.

At the Wing Luke Museum in the C-ID, a new exhibit “Hello Auntie, Hello Uncle” asks visitors to explore how we look at “elders.”

Maliha Masood wrote the text for the exhibit. She said with parents who are getting older, and being a parent herself, she’s been reflecting a lot on aging and the stigma around it.

"I really want people to understand that aging is a process and it's not really defined by a number," Masood said. "It's not really your biological age; it's how you live your life that matters the most." 

The exhibit is divided into six sections. The first few highlight actual elders from the community and their life experiences. It ends by challenging people to imagine what a society looks like that prioritizes elders.

Mimi Chan is a part-time education guide at the museum and was a part of creating this exhibit.

"In general, you see elders as they're old, they're weak, they're on the downhill, we don't want to just focus on that we want to focus on their value as a generational link," Chan said. "You see a lot of elders who are actively doing things in a park, when they protest, they're the loudest."

Chan also expressed how being an elder is an honor. One that not everyone gets.

Sue Kay is a third-generation Seattleite. At age 78, she said she’s still not used to thinking of herself as an “elder,” but she has learned to embrace it. Since retiring, Kay became more politically active in the neighborhood which has meant working alongside some of the younger activists in the community.

"There's sort of an intergenerational growth and communication," Kay said. "I've had to re-look at the history that I learned. They're teaching me about capitalism and settler colonialism and new ways to look at things. So it's ongoing."

Kay said as much as it’s important to learn from elders, she also hopes that learning can be both ways. The youth, she said, are the future and will ultimately be the ones preserving and fighting for the community.

The exhibit, “Hello Auntie, Hello Uncle,” will be on display through February of next year.

Grace Madigan is KNKX's former Arts & Culture reporter. Her stories focused on how people express themselves and connect to their communities through art, music, media, food, and sport.