When I viewed the various sculptures and memorials of Maya Lin, I was very impressed even more by the stories behind her works. That she had created them with the intention of moving away from the focus of ethnic identity and more towards a universal concept that everyone can enjoy without the racial profiling that comes when audiences view the art and the artist that created it.
Ruth Asawa, another Asian American artist probably had the same ideas when she created her wire sculptures. The one shown above for example, with its branching forms makes it appear tree-like or even a combination of life forms that you would find in the sea. If analyzed, one might also conclude that nature is the universal theme that connects us all regardless of race. That is to say that people will branch out in different ways depending on where they live and the various backgrounds and cultures that molded them but in the end, we are all connected by nature. We share the same sky, live under the same sun and follow the same rules of nature. It’s the one thing that helps us understand each other and the various ways of living despite the diversity.
The point is, the artwork would not readily fall under a particular ethnic style of art. This is significant because if it had, the audience would automatically assume a conclusion about the piece just from looking at the racial background the art appears to display as well as the artist themselves. In contrast without the labels, the audience is free to take a good look at the art and come up with their own conclusions; which can be as diverse as the people that live in this world.
Notice scale here…
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