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Inner Koi

2021, 18” x 14”
Oil paints on canvas

As an 18 year old Asian immigrant, art was my strength in my life; almost like my so-called “superpower”. Although as the only Asian artist in my school I would often face  micro aggression, which I wouldn’t care for as much as I would still get the look of ‘awe’ when teachers looked at my work. However, this year would teach me a lot as not only an artist but as a woc going into white dominated society. As on my final art project the teacher would cheat to complete the final painting and sculpture for my only other classmate.Moreover, I would be left voiceless as my university place would depend on the teacher. This piece inspired my heart break I felt, when the teacher gave my peer the first place in an art competition and I received a runners up.

This piece should be filled with anger, but it’s peaceful. As I found my Asian strength is within my art, which is beyond the criticism of my teachers who labeled my art as “exotic” or their biases towards the other white student.Asian strength is making peace with your inner self. It's acknowledging the harsh reality that you will often be undermined.However, this heart break will reveal your inner strength, which will be more beautiful than you believed.

Koi-strength of character, perseverance, accomplishment and courage.