SOFT SOLIDARITY (SoS), Pearl River Gallery, 2022
Pearl River Mart invited me to curate Soft Solidarity (SoS) that features the work of six Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women-identifying artists who share a love for contemporary art and traditional craft inspired by their cultural origins.
“Soft Solidarity” is a term coined by sociologist Mervyn Horgan that describes a kind of loose unity unconstrained by background, location, or socioeconomic status. It is perhaps especially applicable to the AAPI community, one of the most diverse in the country, spanning multiple ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences. Disturbed by the anti-asian violence that erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to respond by showcasing women-identifying asian artists.
Artists include: aricoco, Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Natalia Nakazawa, Lu Zhang
aricoco hand-sews and weaves protective garments for the female body in imaginary eusocial matriarchal communities that are characterized by cooperative brood care and division of labor, inspired by ant and bee insect colonies. Joyce Yu-Jean Lee created a new two-channel video in collaboration with the asian community to display words of various racial slurs and ideas (pink screen), accompanied by each individual’s own words to rebut, reclaim and internalize their identity (yellow screen). Natalia Nakazawa’s vessels serve as a metaphor for the human body, both historical and contemporary, and she custom-made a tapestry in memorarium to Gui Ying Ma, Christina Yuna Lee, Michelle Alyssa Go, brutally murdered during the pandemic. Lu Zhang’s intimate and whimsical ceramic works depict female body parts that draw viewers in to examine how the female body is both characterized, yet objectified and commodified in Asian American identity.