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BALANCING ACT

Tension and tenacity in Asian American art

Joan Kee

MANUEL OCAMPO, Immigrant's Daughter, 1997, acrylic on fabric, 114 x 82 cm, courtesy Galeria OMR, Mexico City.

Asian American art is about tension. It reflects tension between different generations and radiates tension with its uneasy balance of Asianness and Asian Americanness. But most significant of all, Asian American art embodies the tension between a group consciousness which struggles to resist dominant white culture and the equally compelling need to acknowledge and cultivate individual modes of expression. Using the theme of memory as…

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