Lynne Yamamoto and Yong Soon Min incorporate their experiences as Asian-American women into their work in order to express their cultural, sexual, and political struggles. Although Yasumasa Morimura and Masami Teraoka challenge the Eurocentric art world as do Yamamoto and Min, these two male artists address Asian concerns within a Western-based mainstream model. Yamamoto and Min attempt to create challenging works with novel methods that decolonize cultural domination and deconstruct stereotypes of Asian-American women. Feminism has informed their work. The two female artists attempt to create a new paradigm of art that exists outside of Western models.
Third wave feminism includes women of color, and these artists have gained more attention towards their work, because of their efforts in pursuing questions about identity that appeal to mainstream feminism and multiculturalism. But this can be a difficult path. According to Mitsuye Yamada, “multicultural feminists are still faced with loyalty oath, a demand for exclusive allegiance either to women’s studies or ethnic studies but not both.” Many artists from the “Third world” struggle with cultural colonization. For example, Trinh T. Minh-ha says, “we still hold on to the concept of difference not as a tool of creativity to question multiple forms of repression and dominance but as a tool of segregation used to expert power on the basis of racial and sexual essences.” Because Yamamoto and Min are not only Asian-American but also women, their challenges and concerns are different from the other male artists. Asian-American women have complex concerns: the contradiction of preserving their traditions and the struggle for individual rights as well as the problems posed by racism and sexism. Yamamoto and Min have discovered paths outside the patriarchal art world to express their personal experiences in what should be considered part of an art movement in Asian-American women’s art today.
Hiromi Nakazawa, ’01 Yamanashi, Japan
Sponsor: Christina McOmber