The art show entitled ‘Gathering’ brings together different artists of Asian descent to have conversations about their work and to connect with regard to their origins. This informal group started in March 2018 and was formed by Maia Cruz Palileo, Sara Jimenez, Cecile Chong, and Gabriel de Guzman. The artists talk about their contemporary works, code-switching in art contexts, and food to make them feel at home in the United States. The show encompasses two exhibitions, the first one at Tiger Strikes Asteroid and then at FiveMyles both in Brooklyn bringing together different Asianish artists members to reflect and connect with each other.
The COVID pandemic has had an impact on the conception of these concurrent art shows because as of early 2021, members of this group had to meet virtually. Since then, there has been a deep sense of togetherness that has developed among the artists, and they made an open call to other artists of Asian descent to exhibit their works at the shows. The Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery is exhibiting artistic works from twelve Asianish artists from June 24 to July 30, 2023, while the FiveMyles Gallery is exhibiting works from thirty-three artists from July 8 to August 13, 2023.
The artists have gathered to show their unique works about helping process anti-Asian hate and make them feel at home away from home. Top among the agenda of most of the contributing artists is the increased attacks on Asian Americans and the need for this minority group to feel more at home in the United States. The show helps to highlight the importance of the artists’ Asian roots as well as their creativity in creating works that foster togetherness. They seek to educate the general public on the pride and beauty of Asian culture through artistic works that communicate specific themes.
One of the participating artists, Winnie Sidharta Ambron, a Chinese Indonesian painter from Queens displays her artistic work Internal Verse (2023) in the Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery which helps to highlight her Javanese lineage. In her own words, her painting is a “web of symbols, edges, and picturesque fragments that are in the continuous process of becoming an image.” The work looks like a representation of windows that emphasize the role of the human body as a living medium of image-making, and her influences come from the culture of Java, the beautiful islands of Indonesia. The painting brings together an understanding of her own inner experiences and memories that she had growing up in East Java. It creates an authoritative sense of the individual as an important part of society regardless of their origins, and the oneness of every single individual in the world.
In the FiveMyles Gallery, Beatrice Glow exhibits her painting Tobacco, from the Spice Roots/Routes Series (2016/2022). In this digital print, she exhibits a tobacco plant as a single unifying entity that resulted in greater connections between Asians and the rest of the world. The pursuit of spices by Europeans and other people in the world opened up Asia and the corresponding trade by the 1500s formally introduced Asia to the rest of the world. Her artistic work depicts the importance of spices, silk, and other important items to have come out of Asia that brought the world together. This sense of unity ought to be reflected in today’s world and highlight the simple fact that we all need each other despite huge geographical and cultural differences.
The soft sculpture ‘They Watch You Thrive in Sunset, (2021)’ by Chanel Matsunami Govreau is also on display at the FiveMyles Gallery. This distinctive piece of artwork is composed of screen-printed satin, synthetic hair, and vintage kimono. It brings out an image of Japanese folklore monsters that inspires hope for present and future generations by looking into the eyes of Japanese folklore creatures that are responsible for protection. The sculpture extends from the ceiling and gives a feeling of walking through a forest. The artist uses this as an inspiration from the reanimation of the spirit to create her work. They help to create a feeling of oneness because past, present and future experiences bind every single person into one large global community.
Other prominent artists who will feature in the shows include Kate Bae, Harley Ngai Grieco, Melissa Joseph, Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, and Julia Kwon. The need to appreciate Asian culture and artists who have come from the different countries that make up this great continent will have an instrumental role in preventing further attacks against Asian Americans who have already called the United States home.
Curated by Cecile Chong and Sophia Ma
TSA-NY, June 24-July 30, 2023: Heejung Cho, Rachelle Dang, Gi (Ginny) Huo, Sara Jimenez, Melissa Joseph, Kyoung eun Kang, Ae Yun Kim, zavé martohardjono, Kristel Baldoz, & Andrew, Suseno, Sa’dia Rehman, Pauline Shaw, Winnie Sidharta Ambron, Maria Stabio, and Jia Sung
FiveMyles, July 8-August 13, 2023: Kate Bae, Mimi Bai, SiSi Chen, Vivian Chiu, Priyanka Dasgupta & Chad Marshall, Caroline Garcia, Beatrice Glow, Kira Nam Greene, Gyun Hur, Evgenia Kim, Christina Yuna Ko, Alison Kuo, Julia Kwon, Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Adelle Lin Yingxi, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, zavé martohardjono & J Dellecave, Chanel Matsunami Govreau, LuLu Meng, Tomo Mori, Natalia Nakazawa, Harley Ngai Grieco, Alex Paik, Maia Cruz Palileo, Risa Puno, Naomi Kawanishi Reis, Jaye Rhee, Jiwon Rhie, Annesofie Sandal, Amy Lee Sanford, and Seldon Yuan.
Writing by Dennis Denowski