March is Women's History Month. For most of my professional life the month I've been "popular" is May. In addition to being my birthday month, it's also Asian American History Month. But something has slowly changed and I've accidentally become a Feminist too with a capital "F." This week I've been asked to speak on a panel, "Women's Journeys: Passion, Purpose, and Perseverance," for DePaul University Women's Center and Women's Network and to present a talk, "Creative Collaboration: Art and Intersectional Identities," for DePaul's Women's and Gender Studies graduate student colloquium. All of this panel prep has taken me out of the art studio this week but it has given me a chance to reflect on the amazing women (and men) in my life, past and present, who support and challenge me.
Just listing off the women I've worked with closely this past year on major projects: Shelly Jyoti for our Indigo show; Wei Ming Dariotis, all of the artists and authors in our book, Kathleen Pike Jones and the staff of the University of Washington Press, Michelle Kumata and the staff of the Wing Luke Museum, Louise Lincoln and the staff of the DePaul Art Museum for our book and exhibition War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art; Camilla Fojas, Christina Tus, Fanshen Cox, Chandra Crudup, Khanisha Foster, Stefanie Smith, Satya Chima for the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference and Mixed Roots Midwest; Liz Ortiz for the President's Diversity Council; Susan Tybon of the Japanese American Service Committee; Ombretta Agra, Shelly Bahl, Saira Wasim, Anida Youe Ali for CARE Package; Margo Machida, Alexandra Chang, and all of my summer "Re-Envisioning Asian American Art History" NEH cohorts as well as the Diasporic Asian Arts Network; Emily Hanako Momohara and Krystal Hauseur for our proposed show that is keeping me busy night and day in the studio making new work; and Megumi Tomiyma, Ikue Kina, Rinda Kayatani for bringing me to Ryukyu University and the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum.
I'm finally getting around to posting the pictures curator Megumi Tomiyama-san sent me from my December 2012 talk on my Sugar series in Naha, Okinawa, Japan at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum as part of an exhibition on Okinawan women artist "Art is My Life." I was the only foreign artist and was extremely honored to be considered Okinawan. Here I was standing next to Megumi, behind me was a painting of my daughter, my great-great grandmother, images of women from my father's community in Hilo, HI, and next to me was my new friend Rinda Kayatani. In the audience were my extended family, my father, and artists and scholars from Okinawa who I greatly admire.