What is power? Who wields it? How can it be owned, contested, and exercised? For Asian women whose embodiment of power has culturally been limited to either Dragon Lady, Lotus Blossom or Tiger Mom, these questions are ever more prevalent. The true definition of power remains elusive and open to inquiry.

Curated by Yeu Q Nguyen, Jade Wave Rising: Portraits of Power celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander woman agency and resilience in a multitude of manifestations. Jade is a rare mineral imbued with different metaphysical and cultural meanings, used since prehistoric times to adorn objects associated with power such as ceremonial daggers, jewelry, and crowns. Using jade as an allusion to more diverse definitions of power, the exhibition pays homage to overlooked AAPI historical figures and establishes new legacies of leadership for a more equitable future for women everywhere.

Co-Presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center as part of the 26th annual United States of Asian America Festival: REIMAGINING HORIZONS.

APRIL 27 - MAY 21, 2023

Cosmic Scream Bowl, 2021, 47” x 12” x 12”, clay, wood, plexiglass

Cosmic Scream Bowl was partially inspired by Korean Moon jars which are white, based on Confucian virtues of purity, subverting that notion, they are white yet grotesque. Discussing purity being damaging when upheld without question. Observing the mutation of shame in myself and emotion that arises from another’s words. What stories do we have to tell? What do we tell ourselves? What are the pieces we remember? What can we let go of? I am thinking of how the body holds memory and how to create a container for these sentiments and recollections, keeping them safe while being processed—transforming stories of discomfort into a symbolic and valuable medium in the belief that other, unknown worlds are possible.

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