Voices & Visions: AAPI Artist Celebration

May 16, 2023

May marks the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM)
Along with the celebration of the diverse cultures through Asian Food Fest which occurred during the last weekend of April and our detailed directory of Asian restaurants in the Greater Cincinnati area, the Asianati team is here to share a variety of events occurring to celebrate the diverse cultures during AAPIHM. Up now: Voices and Visions at the Walnut Hills Branch Library.

The opening reception for Voices and Visions celebrated the creativity and accomplishments of ten different local Asian American artists who vary in style and even medium to express their art. Accompanying the appreciation of the work produced by these Asian American artists were performances by members of the Cincinnati Opera (baritone vocalist Jacob Zhou, pianist Eunhwa Lee), a 7-song guqin concert from the China-U.S. Cultural Exchange Academy, and more! Cafe Mochiko (an Asianati favorite!) provided treats for the reception, adding flavor to the multifaceted celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture.

Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 3.33.47 PM.png Left: Cincinnati Opera baritone vocalist Jacob Zhou and accompanist Eunhwa Lee. Right: Performance of a Traditional Chinese Fan Dance.

Yuling Huang, a professor of Art History at Northern Kentucky University, coordinated the event while simultaneously displaying her own pieces. Her piece, entitled “The Noble Horse and the Good Politician”, draws inspiration from the symbolic starving horse in traditional Chinese ink painting. The classic allegorical image of the starving horse represents a noble and selfless politician serving his constituents. To provide a Western twist to the traditional painting, Professor Huang used Western media and inserted names of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Winston Churchill as more contemporary representatives of the noble politician.

Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 3.34.18 PM.png The event coordinator and artist, Yuling Huang, explains her piece “The Noble Horse and the Good Politician” oil and acrylic on canvas, which she created for this celebratory exhibit.

The exhibit’s ten artists represent six different cultural heritages and includes sculptures, paintings, carvings, printmaking, and ceramics at the exhibit. Prominent Cincinnati-based artist, Tom Tsuchiya, selected his piece “Embrace No Evil: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to be displayed at the Walnut Hills Library. The piece is a clever play on the simian-themed pun of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” The Japanese pronunciation of this saying is, “Mizaru, kikazaru, iwazaru.” The pun is derived from the similarities between zaru and saru, the word for monkey. This distinctive piece not only has incorporeal meaning, but is also a physical receptacle for discs, such as CDs and DVDs as well as their cases. The collected discs and their containers will be donated to local schools for art projects, to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. This sculpture was previously displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo, where it collected over 50 pounds of recyclable material!

Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 3.34.35 PM.png Artist Tom Tsuchiya demonstrates the utilization of his piece “Embrace No Evil: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” as a receptacle for old CDs.

The pieces by the artists will be on display at the Walnut Hills Branch Library for the entire month of May. Each piece tells a different story, with most pieces deriving influence from the cultural background of the artist. The pieces by Taiwan native Karl Feng, share roots with many works of art from Asia depicting nature and wildlife. Similarly, abstract expressionist artist Priya Rama finds inspiration from her culture, but also intrinsically through colors and shapes that appear in her mind’s eye.

Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 3.34.56 PM.png Left: Karl Feng with his piece “Koi Fish”, ink and color on silk. Right: Priya Rama with her piece “Childhood Again”, inspired by memories and experiences of her cultural traditions.

Second Exhibit and Reception at the / CAC

Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 3.43.37 PM.png Voice and Visions will also have an exhibit to celebrate these Asian American artists at the Contemporary Arts Center. The exhibit will have an opening reception on May 19th from 5 to 8pm, where sculptor Tom Tsuchiya will speak at 6pm. The artists listed here along with Emily Hanako Momohara, Eunshin Khang, JeeEun Lee, John Lanzador, Radha Lakshmi, and Setsuko LeCroix. For those interested in exploring the different expressions of Asian American artists and would like to attend the event, registration is free and can be done >>>HERE<<<.