More than 150 people gathered to listen to speeches and watch lion dancers bless the permanent art installation “Bruce Lee Ascending” during its official debut Tuesday at the University of Washington’s Odegaard Undergraduate Library.
Han Edward So Eckelberg, a current graduate student within UW’s Communication Leadership program, made and installed the artwork during the 2020 winter quarter while studying art and American Ethnic Studies as an undergraduate student.
“Once you know Bruce Lee’s story, he’s not only a martial artist but he carries over his family’s legacy — it’s an immigrant story,” Eckelberg says. “Being born in America, going to Hong Kong and coming back, his story is like many in the community’s and my family’s — it’s trying to establish themselves and make it in America. He’s a symbol of perseverance and I wanted to honor his story at UW.”
“Bruce Lee Ascending” was recognized and supported by the university and the Bruce Lee Foundation, Eckelberg says. Previous student and community-led efforts were made over the years to commemorate Lee, who studied philosophy and drama at UW, on the campus.
The Mak Fai Kung Fu Dragon & Lion Dance Association performed in their “Bruce Lee Lion,” which was signed by Shannon Lee, Lee’s daughter. Lion dancers climbed the stairs and blessed the art installation, bringing “good luck and prosperity,” says Royal Tan, leader of the dance association. Eckelberg is also a martial arts student instructor with the organization.
To learn more about “Bruce Lee Ascending,” visit st.news/lee-ascending.