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August 2016

Exhibition at Santa Clara University’s de Saisset Museum Explores Immigrant Experience

Bold, whimsical, and poignant illustrations celebrate what it means to be American

de Saisset Museum's Crossing Cultures exhibit takes in-depth look at migration and identity

SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 25, 2016—The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, a Story of Immigration, an in-depth look at migration and identity through 25 vibrant paintings and eight poignant illustrations.  

Belle Yang is a celebrated author, graphic novelist, and illustrator who translates her experiences as a Chinese-American immigrant into bold, powerful artworks. Curated by Vikki Cruz,organized by the Bakersfield Museum of Art in collaboration with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., Crossing Cultures is on view at the de Saisset Museum from Sept. 30 through Dec. 4, 2016.

Crossing Cultures sheds light on the immigrant experience and what it means to be American. With charming yet nuanced depictions, Belle 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 U.S. at the age of seven. In an effort to reconnect with her parents' mainland Chinese roots and escape an 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 U.S. 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.

There will be a public reception for the exhibition on Sept. 29, 2016 from 7-8:30 p.m. de Saisset Museum Members can enjoy a preview hour with the artist from 6-7 p.m. That same evening, the de Saisset will celebrate the opening of exhibition Bruce Beasley Recent Work: Coriolis and Torqueri.

About the de Saisset Museum
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is the South Bay’s free museum of art and history. The museum was founded adjacent to the Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the Santa Clara University campus in 1955 and is one of only three museums in the South Bay accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The de Saisset Museum supports Santa Clara University’s goal of educating the whole person through a diverse and accessible range of exhibitions, collections, and educational programs that highlight the art and history of the San Francisco Bay Area. As a center for lifelong learning, the de Saisset facilitates discovery, experience, and inspiration through engaging objects of art and history.

About the Curator
Vikki Cruz is a curator with the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Her most recent projects include curating Roland Peterson: A Retrospective and Legacy in Continuum—Bay Area Figuration. She has assisted is the publication of Marco Casentini: Grand Junction, Wall Paintings from 1997 – 2010 and Architecture by Randall Stout. From 2007 – 2010 she served as owner and director of Surface Gallery in Bakersfield, CA. Cruz has been employed with the Bakersfield Museum of Art since 2004 and has worked in the education department as well as the curatorial department. Vikki Cruz has a BA in Art History and Studio Art from University of California, Berkeley.

About the Organizers
Bakersfield Museum of Art strives to enhance the quality of life through art appreciation and educational opportunities in the visual arts for Bakersfield and Kern County residents and visitors.  In its 56-year history, it has provided outstanding exhibits and offered unique educational opportunities in the visual arts to Bakersfield and its surrounding communities. The Bakersfield Museum of Art’s mission is to inspire and engage diverse audiences by providing a broad spectrum of creative visual arts experiences through the exhibition and preservation of fine art, educational programs, community outreach and special events.

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s mission is to ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections. They accomplish this mission by bringing people together around art and history through dynamic exhibitions, events, partnerships, and programs. Their vision is to become a thriving, central gathering place where local residents and visitors have the opportunity to experience art, history, ideas, and culture. They envision engaged members and visitors who are increasingly passionate and knowledgeable about contemporary art and local history that celebrates their diverse community.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, art institutions and the public.  Visit

International Arts & Artists: Alyssa Hockenberry, 202.338.0680,

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact: Tina Vossugh| | (408) 829-4836





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Belle Yang, Up on Granddaddy Hill, 1998, Gouache on paper, Courtesy of the artist.