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Belle Yang

Colorful illustration of three people walking up a mountain path.

Colorful illustration of three people walking up a mountain path.

September 30 - December 4, 2016

Imagine a map of your life. Where are you going, and where have you been?
Belle Yang traces her path through vibrant paintings, illustrations and graphic novels about her experience as a Chinese American immigrant in Santa Cruz County.
With charming depictions, Yang narrates the story of her family's journey from China to America with insight, wit, and humor. Seminal Chinese-American author, Amy Tan, remarked that Yang "writes in English and thinks in Chinese," endowing her works with a unique combination of accessibility and intimacy.

Born in Taiwan, Yang spent part of her childhood in Japan before immigrating with her family to the United States at the age of seven. In an effort to reconnect with her parents' mainland Chinese roots, and escape and abusive romantic relationship, Yang studied at the Beijing Academy of Traditional Chinese Painting, where she developed an appreciation and respect for traditional ink paintings and folk art. Her acquired fluency in Mandarin allowed her to unlock a colorful wealth of stories springing from her father and his ancestors.

After witnessing the horrors of the Tiananmen Massacre, Yang returned to the United States determined not to waste her freedom of expression, and to serve as a voice of justice for immigrants. Exhibitions of her work have been presented at museums and cultural centers such as the National Steinbeck Center, Monterey Museum of Art, San Francisco Main Public Library, Pacific Asia Museum, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and the Boston Public Library.

In Crossing Cultures, Yang—whose Chinese first name, Xuan, means "Forget Sorrow"—shares her inspirational journey through enchanting depictions of family stories and childhood memories.

Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, A Story of Immigration was developed by the Bakersfield Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, California, and toured by International Art & Artists, Washington, D.C.
Rachael Myrow of KQED interviewed Belle Yang about her life and work during the run of this exhibition. The resulting article "Crossing Cultures: The Compelling Tug of Chinese Memories on Belle Yang" can be read online on KQED's website (click here to access article). The accompanying radio segement can be heard below.
Dec 2, 2016





Image, above: Belle Yang, Up on Granddaddy Hill, 1998, Gouache on paper, Courtesy of the artist. 
Image, soundcloud background: Belle Yang, He Sings Me Lullabys, 1998, Gouache on paper, Courtesy of the artist. 
Image, exhibition listing: Belle Yang, Travel in the Rain, 2007, Gouache on paper, Courtesy of the artist.

Opening Reception September 29, 2016

Join us for the opening reception of Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, A Story of Immigration 

6:00-7:00 p.m. - Member Preview

7:00-8:30 p.m. - Public Opening Reception

(Please note, at this time we will also celebrate the opening of Bruce Beasley Recent Work: Coriolis and Torqueri)


This event is free.