In her work, Fay Ku grapples with her Chinese-American identity, fending off flippant sincere-yet-still-kin- da-racist questions about her cultural background as if “USA” could never be an acceptable answer to the question “Where are you from?” She does so with gratuitous patience and a sly wit by nodding to compositions and visual signifiers from art history and American culture, whether that’s making her own “Olympia” by Manet or using stage magic as a metaphor for wanting to disappear. Performers, acrobats, escape artists and magicians: subjects of her work that imply an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes focus and practice; the idea of being cut in half, escaping, disappearing right before your eyes. It also implies a lot of behind- the-scenes focus and practice to perform flawlessly for a public audience. Somewhere in there is a powerful connection to being a minority in America, where one must don jade armor to simultaneously protect one’s self and claim space proudly as independent from stereotypes and expectations.

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