Academic responsibilities have officially picked back up for this semester and it can be difficult to find time to relax in between. However, this art exhibition is just a quick walk across campus.
“Under the Same Sun” features students from the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs at The Beach. This exhibition, which spotlights Asian American and Pacific Islander students, opened on Sunday and will remain open through Thursday, Feb. 9.
Tiffany Wernik, one of the featured artists, explained the significance of the exhibition title. “[Under the Same Sun] shows unity across Asia despite it often being recognized as a few countries,” they said.
Wernik is a drawing and painting BFA student who was accepted into the program in fall 2022. Two of their pieces are featured in the exhibition: “Kissing Practice” and “Moon Landing.”
Wernik spoke more about their featured art. “In my work shown, I’m exploring two topics important to me: cultural appropriation and parasocial relationships. Both show different sides of my identity that I talk about, but not in detail.”
Wernik’s painting, “Moon Landing,” is a play on words.
“[The painting shows] a moon cake displayed the same way the moon was during the moon landing. It alludes to how cultural food is often colonized and repurposed to be more palatable. It also points to how western powers move to own things as a show of dominance,” they said.
Another artist featured in the exhibition is Anh Thy Hoang, a drawing and painting BFA student who was accepted into the program in fall 2021.
Hoang’s displayed work is titled “The First Month.” This oil painting touches on her experience of losing her grandmother from afar.
“[My paternal grandmother’s] passing came in the form of a phone call, and next thing we knew, we were on a plane home. Not to visit distant family, but to bury family. That’s what it meant to be away from home,” Hoang said.
The pattern on the floor of the painting is a pattern from one of her grandmother’s pajama sets.
“The goal of the painting was to stitch my childlike, rose-tinted experience of being in a new place with my parent’s grief and sacrifice into one simultaneous experience,” she said.
This piece is based on photographs of Hoang’s childhood apartment in Garden Grove, where her family of five first lived in the U.S., sharing a room.
The painting utilizes a soft color palette, with a greenish overall hue resting atop a pink underpainting. This sensitivity to color is prominent in Hoang’s work.
“I lean towards color interactions that are jarring. I like it when colors are surprising, or vibrate,” Hoang said.
The exhibition features a large body of work, including paintings, charcoal and graphite drawings, collages, digital art and a video installation.
Hoang spoke about the exhibition as a whole. “I look at the show and I see a thin red string intertwining, touching, and connecting all the works. That to me is stronger than a show wherein all the pieces explicitly talk about AAPI identity,” she said.
This exhibition is an opportunity to hear a variety of distinct artistic voices on campus. The artists were not given any thematic guidance, but the topic of identity arises throughout. To follow the featured artists on social media, visit this link.
The exhibition is open through Thursday, Feb. 9 in the Gatov E. Gallery on campus, from 12 – 5 p.m. each day. The gallery is located between FA-3 and FA-2, on upper campus.