This project was created by the Culture Co-Op with the purpose of celebrating our own heritage and how it has defined who we are as individuals today. Join us on June 19th at 2pm to hear about our work.
The Festival of Letting Go
This is a digital drawing of the popular lantern festival but with a twist. Anita Huang changed all the paper lanterns into Chinese lanterns. These lanterns are red, the color of good fortune in Chinese culture. The Chinese Lantern Festival began over 2000 years ago. It celebrates family reunions and society. It is a time of socializing and freedom. The lanterns symbolize hope and people letting go of their past selves. She have added Chinese stereotypes and racial slurs on the lanterns to symbolize letting go of those words. Anita was inspired by the current events of 2020 and says it’s time to let go of all this deeply rooted racism because “We all have a heritage and we all have a lot in common.”
Anita Huang is from San Francisco, CA. She is a first-year transfer student or junior at the University of California, Davis. She is majoring in Economics with a concentration in Data Analytics and minoring in Communications. Anita chose to work at the Culture C.O.-O.P. because she loved what it stands for: Caring, Optimistic, Open-Minded People. Anita wanted to use her skills to make a difference in her community and the Culture C.O.-O.P. seemed like the perfect place to start. Her time at the Culture C.O.-O.P. has been a great learning experience for Anita. It has opened her eyes to countless social justice issues in our society, ranging from institutional racism and oppression to privileged rights. These topics have taught Anita ways to succeed in both her personal and professional life. Antita has now learned how to deal with adversities, especially during these hard times. It has truly been a blessing to work with Sandy Holman.
The name of my painting is ‘My Journey’ and for this piece I used oil paint on a stretched canvas. This piece is an abstract collage that I copied from a poster I made with pictures that represents my heritage. I say this because everything in the painting represents either cultural events or symbols of traditions my family members have done and still do today.
For instance the main example you can see in this painting where there is a lot of water surrounded by me that represents my family and I going overseas for our family reunions. In these times we come together to connect with our family all over and share love and talk about our family history and our blackness. This artwork means a lot to me because not only does it represent my culture of my family but the fact that I get to pass this image on to my future family and children.
The American Nightmare
Like most Asian immigrants, Natalie’s family migrated to America with the impression that America was the golden land of prosperity, freedom, and the law. Her mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, lived on a cramped freight ship with less than livable conditions for nine months as they made their way to the United States. They endured hardship and made sacrifices in hopes of achieving the American Dream. The American Dream conveys a land where you are only recognized by your work ethic, rather than your race, and you have many opportunities to make a fortune. Unfortunately, America is not the law abiding, colorblind utopia they had pictured. The systemic racism, discrimination, and stereotypes that awaited them were conveniently left out of the American Dream.
Natalie wanted to showcase general Anti-Asian sentiment that often gets dismissed, or worse, accepted. The photos side by side allude to the juxtaposition between past and present, first and second generation, and grandfather and granddaughter, while also showing similarities such as racist sentiment, family history, and a stern expression in the face of hatred. Discrimination may evolve over the years but family history remains the same. As Natalie graduates in the current political climate, she reminds herself where her family came from and the sacrifices they made to get here. Her accomplishments would not have been possible without the sacrifice and support of her family members.
Natalie Lortz is a warm and intelligent second-generation woman of mixed racial descent. As a recent graduate of UC Davis with degrees in Psychology and Asian American Studies, she is determined to bring positive change to marginalized communities impacted by colonization and oppression. Her experience as Lead Coordinator for an art exhibit titled, “Viet Nam As Concept: A Journey of (Re)Discovery” inspired her to use art as a mode to share history and perspectives in an interactive and impactful way. For the past 12 years, she has been an avid dancer and is enthusiastic about all creative expressions. Her passion for art and eagerness to learn led her to join the Culture Co-op’s Art & Design Team, despite having scant previous experience with digital media.
Mountain and Pebble
Heritage to me comes from acknowledging and accepting where a person’s roots come from. In Adetayo’s case, his is from The motherland, rich and raw material & energy in the land. His roots stem from a place where a witch doctor became an educator, to lay a foundation for his children to stay in Nigeria and live a life that a father would be proud of. However, my father had different plans and left to go to America. This is an abstract picture of my father holding me as a child. This was originally a photo taken by my Dad’s best friend a year after Adetayo was born.This digital artwork is an abstract replica of a photo taken by his father’s friend a year after Adetayo was born. For a while now Adetayo would describe his parenting style strictly, but also shielding him from the dangers of the real world. Face’s are both blank in the black background but the adult holding a child has his lips shown. Because once America sees that color and a facial feature we are then branded as less. Slowly as Adetayo grew, that “shield” crumbled. The black space is a reminder that black is and will forever be beautiful.
It was Adetayo’s goal for this abstract artwork to reflect what he said when he first looked at this photo: a strong father trying to do what’s best for his son. Mountain was chosen to represent Adetayo’s last name “Oke” which translates to the word mountain. It’s called Mountain and Pebble because both people in the artwork share the same last name “Oke”. The “Oke” in Yoruba means Mountain. Pebble was used to define my younger self. Looking at both the photo and who Adetayo is now, he admits that he’s lucky, to not only graduate but to even make my age. Its obvious things didn’t go on as planned, but life, more importantly, a child’s life can never be planned, no matter how hard someone would like to try. He was born to be tough in a very cruel world knowing that by being here today Adetayo is doing what has been written in his name. To stand his ground like a mountain and overcome how others, brand those with black skin. To honor those who have died and haven’t made it to where he is now. Adetayo has nothing but gratitude to be able to talk about this artwork. He has been lucky but it is with that understanding that Adetayo knows that he will not take different parts of my life for granted. He lives, breathes, cries, and will eventually die black.
Adetayo Oke is a fun-loving graduate student of UC Davis. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Design. He primarily wants to go into the field of product design and human-centered design. He has been recently inspired by contemporary African Photography and Post-Modern Architecture. Adetayo hopes to pursue those two fields in the future. For a while now he’s believed that it was this internship that chose him. Adetayo said that he barely remembered applying for the job, but meeting with Sandy and learning more about the internship, made him inspired to see her vision of a better, and more equitable future for all races but especially for black people and people of color. Adetayo always wanted to learn and embrace his cultural heritage and being a part of this internship was the first step in a long awaited journey.
Hispanic Beauty, is an art piece that conveys myself in the center with significant pieces
around me. This piece speaks to my heritage because it conveys powerful women that identify themselves as part of the Hispanic community. I decided to choose myself for this piece because the pose and little to no facial expression stand powerful by itself and communicate the Hispanic beauty that every woman has. This piece is mainly dedicated to my mother because she was the one that has taught me everything I know about my heritage today and how to be empowering. Mi mama mi enseño a luchar. Meaning, she taught me how to fight and never give up on anything that I set my mind to. I wanted to incorporate my mother in this piece. I chose the agave plant behind me to represent her and where she comes from. The bright colors and bright roses represent the warmth and lively culture that one experiences every day. The usage of different shades within my skin communicate the range of skin tones within my family as well as the Hispanic culture. As a person of color, I have had to deal with seeing and/or being part of oppression matters.
Berenice Cayetano is a first-generation Latina finishing up her fourth year studying Design and Art History at UC Davis and will be graduating this spring 2020. She has always believed in equity and equality for all-the Culture co-op and Director Sandy Holman allowed Berenice to work with others and show the importance of social justice. Sandy Holman gave her the opportunity of helping others, getting involved in events, and pushing my creativity as a designer. Being part of the Culture Co-op in her last year at UC Davis made it even more memorable and Berenice wouldn’t change it for the world because of them, she was able to share with you all this artwork.