AAPI Heritage Month #20

May 20, 2023

Describe a specific piece of AAPI art.

Mika J. Nakano, “Coping.” (2020). Asian Pasifika Arts Collective’s 2020 APA Heritage Month Virtual Art Celebration. baltimoreapac.org

“Coping.” Acryla-Gouache and matte acrylic. 18″x24.” A Baltimore-based multi-disciplinary artist teacher. A piece submitted to the Asian Pasifika Arts Collective’s 2020 AAPIHM Virtual Art Celebration.

When prompted here to reflect on a specific piece of AAPI art, I was overwhelmed. (And yes, I did write these prompts myself but that was over 20 days ago!) There is so much art. What even is art? Or rather, what is not art? Thankfully, I am part of a growing community of Baltimore AAPI folks building pockets for connection. Five years ago, Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective (now APAC) was born with a drive for art activism, AAPI representation, and community connection. APAC’s website is an excellent resource for AAPI artist voices and visual arts. I am grateful that there are resources thriving around me.

According to her bio, 2020 APAC celebrant Mika J. Nakano enjoys “how people have made sense of nature and the supernatural.” I see that in her piece, “Coping.” The brilliant blues of a glass stand and dome that holds an artist creating contentment. It reminds me of Maya Angelou’s When the Caged Bird Sings. The seemingly imprisoned artist has surrounded herself with renditions of nature, delicate, intricate, and alive. The painted person is coping with their condition, but letting it be known to on-lookers that while kept caged it is still possible to create beauty. Possible and potentially necessary.

This is a really lovely piece of modern fine art. Thank you, Mika.

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