The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s sister museum in Nagoya, Japan, is currently featuring work from three SMFA students as part of a dragon exhibition: MFA candidate Stephen St. Francis Decky and BFA candidates Eileen Wang and Kushala Vora. We asked Eileen Wang a few questions:
How did you hear about the Nagoya exhibition?
Kushala and I both wanted to do a large scale piece, and when Erica Adams presented this opportunity in the class “Water, Color and Paper,” we both thought that we had to go for it! In addition, Erica is a great teacher who supported us throughout the entire process. Without her, I don’t think we would have been able to finish it!
Tell us about your work in the exhibition.
Kushala and I collaborated on a large scale mixed-media piece, A Stroll in the Sky, inspired by a piece that is currently exhibiting at Nagoya as well. The curators at Nagoya requested that students try to create a work inspired by a dragon piece they will be featuring, and that is what we did. However unlike the original dragon piece that used only watercolor, we hope to create a modern approach by incorporating the watercolor with pastel, embroidery and ink.
What does this mean to you?
I started realizing how interesting and essential it is for me to incorporate elements of culture into my work. Because I grew up in Asia, when I started working on the dragon piece I knew how significant the symbol of dragon is for Asian countries. That made me start to think about how cultural symbols define a country’s identity. Then of course because I am interested in food, I see food as much of a cultural symbol as the dragon is to Asia. It is because I grew up under two very different cultures, the fusion of it says a lot about who I am. This dragon project for me is a realization of the direction I need to take for my future works.
What is your focus of work here at SMFA?
As of today, my work consists of ways I can merge my two passions: fashion and food. My work ranges from drawing, gluing beads on paper, making sculptures and painting from them. In continuing to explore what art means to me, I hope to make more work in the future based on cultural understanding. As someone who was born in America but grew up in Taiwan, appreciating cultural diversity is very important to me. I hope to bring an interesting approach in this exploration by examining the textural differences between American and Taiwanese food. And of course, I will still be doing sculptures and paintings as a vehicle to explore. I think the dragon project my friend Kushala and I did for Nagoya is what made me realize how important it is for me to incorporate a cultural element in my work.
Thanks, Eileen, and congratulations!