Asian American Women Artists Association - Room 317

Greater Than 3+1: Traversing Through Walls Four Asian American women artists come together in this group exhibit to take on the mantle of representing a lesser known voice in the American Art landscape. Kudos to the exhibition producers for creating this opportunity that encourages a dialogue aimed at breaking down stereotypes, both nuanced and overt. Asian American Women Artists Association is dedicated to ensuring the visibility of Asian American women artists and their culturally rich expressions.

These artists seamlessly combine commercial art appeal with socially conscious art work. Their powerful art tells stories of cultural and generational trauma, hopes, and dreams. In the current political environment, this exhibit takes on the vital role of using the arts to teach compassion, inspire curiosity, provoke emotionally moving dialogue, and build new networks. This exhibit is a pathway for Asian American women’s voices to traverse beyond traditional walls.

Cynthia Tom creates vibrant, colorful paintings of her female ancestors inside surreal landscapes, spiritually rewriting or re-wishing their foundation of trauma to that of joy. Surreal images of women and outlandishly imagined fashion attract viewers to her work, inspiring them to learn the cultural back stories. She shares her intimate family stories in little hand sewn pillows to focus on modern day human trafficking with the hopes of spurring civic engagement.

Maggie Yee is a visual story teller of her reactions to personal experiences and environment. In one series, she honors her father’s visits to Honolulu's hostess bars by painting portraits of the hostess women who kept him company during his single life. Maggie’s fictitious character, Sedated Maggie, plays herself on an adventure in her dreams. She plays with found objects as a narrator with boxes, giving us a way to delight in things that are tossed aside, teaching us to see the potential in everything.

Shari Arai Deboer is a master print-maker and watercolor artist who takes us on a journey of stories about her Japanese American heritage. She creates 2D vignettes, with imagery from her family nursery and the internment camp. Shari has developed a vocabulary of symbols that speaks of time, values, hidden stories, and our sense of strength and fragility, but always conveying a sense of quietness and reflection.

Susan Almazol explores her roots and shoots through ceramic sculpture. Her busts reveal the anguish of post-World War II Manila. Torsos revel in the traditional dances of her youth. Inverted legs form a harp with strings that twang to celebrate conquered pain. Now, female torsos venerate the aging process. Spirited stories are her hallmark.

For more information about AAWAA, please visit their website.