SEATTLE — Legendary Martial artist Bruce Lee only lived in Seattle for five years but the impact and influence is remarkable.
Lee moved to Seattle in 1959 to finish school. He taught martial arts to earn money to help pay tuition at the University of Washington, where he studied drama and philosophy.
Much of Lee’s personal philosophy is on display in Seattle at a new exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum.
"Bruce Lee Exhibit: Be Water My Friend" is an interactive exhibit that invites viewers to step into the mind, body, and spirit of Bruce Lee to see how his unquenchable pursuit of knowledge informed his philosophy and life. Lee was known for his martial arts and spent a substantial amount of his time training his mind though reading.
The exhibit features a personal library with more than 2,000 books that Bruce Lee’s daughter said is very revealing and highly personal. Shannon Lee said packing up her dad’s book library to send to Seattle was a reminder that her fathers famous quotes and philosophies came from his thirst for knowledge and consistent consumption of books.
“I knew he was an avid reader because we had all these books around the house but packing them up reminded me of how much work he put in to bettering himself,” Shannon Lee said.
Titles ranging from “The Wisdom of Insecurity” to “Integral Yoga” surround an exhibit featuring personal items and interactive water themed displays. Shannon Lee said her dads massive book library is even more impressive when you consider he only lived to be 32 years old.
“I think that’s why this collection is so intimate and personal feeling,” she said.
The museum also features images and information on the years Lee lived in Seattle and how he fought against oppression and complicated social issues by focusing on better preparing himself. His phrases like “Be Water, my friend” are well-known and symbolize Bruce Lee’s vision for mental strength.
Joël Barraquiel Tan took over as executive director of The Wing Luke Museum in April and said the exhibit will be a part of the museum as a whole.
“What’s really exciting is that our latest exhibit coincides with the announcement of the Bruce Lee Foundation's permanent home here in one of our gallery spaces.”
The exhibit opens to the public on July 9. The opening celebration includes a short program featuring a dragon and lion dance blessing.