I was recently a guest on the Future Tripping Podcast, a project of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. The host, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, is an author/activist, an internationally recognized leader in the field of trauma exposure ~ and one of my dearest friends for the past 30+ years! As such, she holds all the pieces of my personal, family, work and creative life. At its core, our conversation reveals the depth and breadth of “making art to better understand my cultural inheritance and legacy,” and shows why art – the creation and maintenance of it – can be an essential act of liberation.💗
In March, I participated in Crush/Repeat, a 31-day challenge to create something every day. I decided to focus on creating a small painting in my sketchbook daily. And now I can’t stop!
I could line a shelf with all the sketchbooks I’ve abandoned after a couple pages of tentative marks. So I pulled out my smallest (5.5″x8.5″), cheapest sketchbook and let go of any expectation to produce anything finished. My only goal was to show up & play ~ experimenting with colors, materials and techniques. The lessons learned from these bold little explorations are starting to show up in my larger paintings.
Starting my days by writing in my journal, followed by a 20 minute art page, loosens me up and gets me in the zone. I am no longer tethered to needing a full day in the studio to feel like I got my creativity fix. If 20 minutes is all I have, I know it will be enough.
(I’m grateful to my friend, Helen Kim, for showing me the way of her morning pages.)
As a kid, I found it comforting to think about how wildly the universe had to conspire just so I could be here. I would lie in bed and think about all the serendipitous moments that had to happen just so my Tanzanian father and South Korean mother could meet, halfway around the world, and have me. I would think about the epic stories of love, betrayal, sacrifice, migration, survival ~ all the random encounters and deliberate life choices extending back generations that had to happen just so my parents could meet and have me.
And as I got older, made friends and met their families, I realized that everyone has stories that are epic in scope ~ even if their families have lived in the same town for generations.
Every one of us is the embodiment of the life stories of our parents, our grandparents, our ancestors. We carry their stories forward with us, whether we’re conscious of them or not. But make no mistake ~ we are all here because of these stories.
Making art is how I make sense of these stories I’ve inherited about who I am and where I come from…and the stories I’m now passing down. As a mother, I feel compelled to think about where I stand in this flow of cultural inheritance and legacy. These paintings reflect the internal and external landscapes that have been traversed just to reach this point where our paths could cross in this gallery, in this city, at this moment in time…
: to become known
: to come into being through evolution
: to rise from an obscure or inferior position or condition Four artists explore what it means to EMERGE through
encaustic, photography, acrylics and ceramics.