Image above features the work of Japanese artist, Yayoki Kusama, at the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art in Nusantara.
Artists working in any genre incorporate many influences into their work. We highlight here a selection of Asian American and Pacific Islander women whose careers exemplify dedication and inspiration, who share their hard work and life experiences with us in innovative ways. Their work is inspiring, and much of it can be experienced right on your phone or laptop.
Image courtesy of Gigi Chen’s website. Photo by Bill Wadman
Gigi Chen was born in Guang Dong, China, and raised in New York. She fell in love with works of the Old Masters and was formally trained in painting and animation. Her artwork tells her stories through a combination of cartooning, texture and design, and photo realism. Her paintings and portraits use vibrant, rich colors and often elements of nature, such as birds or other small animals depicted occasionally with surreal elements. Her artwork embodies her internal juxtaposition of her love of where she grew up in the city with her love of nature. Gigi currently has work on display at New York City’s Stone Sparrow Gallery.
Image courtesy of Hangama Amiri’s Twitter @hangama_art
Hangama Amiri was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1989 and lives and works now in New Canaan, Connecticut. Her home ties to Afghanistan still very much influence her work today. In her textile-based pieces, Hangama depicts domestic scenes and the women who are contending with the constraints that come from living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Her quilted pieces show a quiet Afghan feminism through her lens as an Asian American, and also feature the diasporic Afghan communities as they’ve spread out into places like New York. Hangama’s pieces have been shown all over the United States and the world, and she currently has artwork on display at the David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado, until June 18th.
Image courtesy of Pacita Abad’s website
Pacita Abad is a celebrated artist known for her very colorful collages and mixed media paintings. She was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. to further her studies, in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. Her large canvases draw on inspiration from around the globe, but especially from events in her birthplace. She escaped political persecution by the Marcos dictatorship. Pacita’s art and activism have inspired young female artists across the world. In much of her art, she combines objects and elements from many places to create one unified piece, and her “trapunto” painting technique has been highly influential. Pacita currently has art on display at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Image courtesy of Yale RITM website
Tiffany Chung is a Vietnamese-American based in Houston, Texas, who tends to focus on creating multimedia pieces that capture elements of migration and conflict. Her art embodies elements of war, remembrance, and elements of healing and reconciling the past in dealing with scars from the Vietnam War. She is well known for bringing a great deal of research to her creative process, to encapsulate various socio-political themes in each piece. Exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, at MoMA, and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, and currently has art on display at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Her upcoming exhibition in the Dallas Museum of Art begins on August 5th.
By Mary Eliot Stone