Tag Archives: art

War Baby/Love Child comes to DPAM

30 Apr

Originally published in The DePaulia, April 29, 2013.


Organizing curator Laura Kina leads a guided tour through the DPAM exhibit.

What are you? It’s a question people of mixed race have heard before, it’s a question without a very clear answer, but it’s also a question a new exhibit at the DePaul Art Museum is trying to answer.

War Baby/Love Child opened Thursday at the DePaul Art Museum and will run through June 30. The exhibit is co-curatedby Vincent DePaul Professor of Art, Media and Design Laura Kinaand San Francisco State University professor Wei Ming Dariotisand features the work of 19 artists, all of mixed race Asian-American descent.

The title for the exhibit, War Baby/Love Child, is a reference to a common stereotype regarding mixed race Asian Americans.

“I always wanted a t-shirt that said ‘War Baby’ on the front, and ‘Love Child’ on the back, because a lot of people would ask me, was your father in the military? Which is just a ridiculous question because we weren’t fighting a war in China in the late ’60s. But that image of the war baby is so strong, that that’s what people think of,” said Dariotis, who identifies as Greek, Swedish, English, Scottish, German, Dutch, Chinese-American.

The choice of title was controversial, with one gallery declining to show the exhibit because of the title.

“Art takes things that can be painful and transforms them into beautiful things,” said Dariotis. “We wanted to create something that people would be able to have not just an intellectual relationship with, but a passionate relationship.”

The exhibit features works from a variety of artistic styles and philosophies. One gallery features three works on similar subjects from very different perspectives.

Jenifer Wofford’s piece ‘MacArthur’s Nurses’ portrays a group of Filipino women walking through water. The piece references a staged photo of General Douglas MacArthur. Kip Fulbeck’s piece is a very straightforward photo portrait of a man, with the words “I am 100% Asian and 100% Black” written underneath in a rejection of the either/or mentality. Finally, a piece by Mequitta Ahuja features a woman’s head with a colorful explosion of culturally significant images emerging from it.

“So you see the three different approaches, one based on history and broader context , the self with a very straightforward portrait, and one that’s about the internal life,” said organizing curator Laura Kina.

For many of the artists, this exhibition is a unique experience.

“This is the first explicitly mixed race show I’ve been in, and it’s exciting,” said artist Chris Naka. “Being involved in this show makes me think about my own practice and how my identity and my work is affected by being mixed race”

For Native American and Korean-American artist Debra Yepa-Pappan, this exhibit is an opportunity to show her work in a new context.

“This is the first time I’ve displayed my work where the target audience wasn’t other Native Americans,” saidYepa-Pappan. “I’m really glad to see that I’m getting a lot of support from the Native American community. For those Native Americans that are mixed race, and a lot of them are, it’s important to realize that you don’t have to choose one side or the other. You don’t have to deny your non-native part.”

Kina is teaching an Honors Junior Multiculturalism Seminar at DePaul that explores the issues raised in this exhibit, guided by the accompanying book, which she and Dariotis co-wrote.

 “We’re always interested in a good hook in order to pose a question or make an argument through our exhibits,” said DePaul Art Museum Director Louise Lincoln. “And particularly with this show it’s good because it’s an extension of Laura’s teaching function.”

The museum will be hosting a variety of events to accompany the exhibit, including a screening of the film, “The Woman, The Orphan, and the Tiger” by Danish artist Jane Jin Kaisen Monday, April 29 from 6-8 p.m.


Home Sweet Apartment and Bon Voyage!

4 Sep

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois

Salutations from the Windy City! Today, I moved into my first real, honest-to-goodness apartment in my kind of town, Chicago, IL. What a step up from dorm life- this apartment was a stroke of luck if I ever had one. It is picture perfect, cozy- yet spacious, and of course comes complete with a lovely roommate! What more could a girl want.

So, after putting kitchen utensils in drawers, lightbulbs in sockets and other such move-in day activities, I finally was able to get down to business decorating my room. Posters, painted canvases (canvi?), plants, pillows (apparently I have a thing for P-words?)- so far so good. I’m still deciding where everything goes- but it’s shaping up quite nicely.

One thing I haven’t quite found a place for yet is my wall calendar- a 16 month vintage travel poster. Now, I love me some vintage anything and I love me some world travel anything. So, it’s perfect. Being more than a few months into 2010, I decided it was time to take a pair of scissors to the thing and make myself a series of tiny (6″ x 10″ish) travel posters. So, in honor of my move in, here’s a taste of my apartment decor with a few of my favorite vintage travel posters (the first three are from the calendar- the rest posters I wish were also in the calendar).

My favorite! This is featured in the center of my carefully constructed bulletin board (a key feature of any good bedroom). I love the colors!

Another French poster- are you noticing a trend? Regardless, this is very Gatsby.

Mmm, ok, this may be my favorite. I want to go to there.

My favorite colors!

Looking good Palestine!

Getting there is half the fun!

As usual, I could go on and on and on…love. it.

Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park

7 Aug

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This May, I had the awesome opportunity to be a guest on the Frank Lloyd Wright housewalk in Oak Park.  Some may remember my interest in Wright and Oak Park was sparked by the book Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. After reading the book I looked into prices for the annual housewalk. Unfortunately, it was well out of my budget. Luckily, a friend of mine had some Oak Park connections (aka grandparents) who were able to take us for free as guests on the nighttime volunteer tour. Needless to say, it was splendid. See photos I took above. Please note that some of the houses are Wright’s and some are not- the tour was focused on Wright but included other notable Oak Park architecture.

Being inside a Wright house is very interesting. Due to the historical and artistic value of the homes, the owners are bound by a set of restrictions  in order to keep the house as near to the condition Wright intended it to be as possible. When I say owners, I also mean residents. Yes, these gorgeous historic houses are occupied year round by couples, families and individuals who own the houses. And yes, it is a rather odd experience to walk past an architectural masterpiece and see Finding Nemo playing on the big screen TV in the living room.

But I guess that’s what beautiful about Wright’s work- every square inch of house includes just as much utility as it does beauty.

(Notes on pictures: The brown house shaped like a triangle in the front is Wright’s home and studio, the one Victorian style house was not on the tour, I included it as a contrast to the Wright-influenced architecture.)

Judging Books By Their Covers

24 Jul

Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover

So goes the old adage, and usually I am hesitant to criticize anything with the implied sageness of an ‘adage’t. However, in this particular case, I would like to make a small revision.


Now, I am not suggesting that this is a hard and fast rule. As with human fashionistas, a fancy jacket is not necessarily indicative of an equally fancy interior. In fact, I have read many a incredible story off the yellowed pages of a tattered paperback. But I guess that is just my point, even if the cover consists of nothing more than a piece of frayed cardboard, the composition, shape, size and cover of a book really do make a difference. So, I’ve decided to do a bit of a fashion piece on some of my favorite literary sartorial connoisseurs…

Let’s start with a classic: leather-bound, gold-leafed, like the little black dress- when done correctly – this never goes out of style. Perfect for a great romantic like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.

I love this iconic edition of Gone With the Wind. The hard binding really contributes to the heft of the 1,037 page book. I love the font, the very vintage color scheme and illustration down in front. The best part is, this cover art is so readily available in stores like Borders or Barnes and Nobles where many classic books get nothing more than the ‘Penguin Classics’ paperback cover.

I found these copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (circa 1975-80) in my grandma’s basement in sixth grade and promptly devoured them. While there are much grander copies in existance I’m sure. These yellowed paperbacks will always be my favorites!

There is something so appealing about the turquoise, white and red color-combo in Julia Child’s famous cookbook. Not to mention I’m always a sucker for fleur di lis- especially tiny ones. I feel like I need to own this, even just to look at it.

And now I feel bad for disparaging Penguin Classics. This copy of Anna Karenina is not only beautiful- an exquisitely subtle reference to the book’s subject. It is also the best kind of paperback- that heavy matte-glossed kind that feels like it has scotch tape all over it.

As probably to definitely creepy as this cover of Madeline L’Engle’s sci-fi classic A Wrinkle in Time is, I’ve always loved the visual. I especially love Mrs. Whatsit and compatriots in the background.

Having read the entire Aeneid in my Latin IV class in high school, I continue to be grateful to Mr. Fagles for providing such a readable translation. This copy is sitting on my bookshelf looking a little tired. I love the bright red contrasted with the black and white of that awesome image of Aeneas carrying his father out of Troy.

Take a gander at that. I can’t think of much that is more rip-roaring than that copy right there. Any child wandering a library and taking this off the shelf is in for quite the adventure!

As much as I love actress Anne Hathaway, I was so disappointed when I heard she had been cast as the heroine of this preteen favorite of mine because the Ella of this cover had become the Ella of the novel for me.

At the risk of overdoing it, I am going to stop here- I could go on and on about my favorite covers- The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, etc., etc. but that will be for another day.

Also for another day, look forward to a post showing the brilliant illustration from my beloved copy of Pride and Prejudice

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