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article imageOp-Ed: Asian Women celebrate A Place of Her Own exhibit and workshops Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Aug 2, 2014 in Entertainment
San Francisco - Healing and transformation is something that is very important to artist Cynthia Tom. This is why she has been so instrumental in the forming and on-going work of the Asian American Women Artists Association and its annual "A Place of Her Own," events.
For more than five years "A Place of Her Own" exhibit and workshops have helped heal and empower women in a creative environment that is supportive and encouraging.
More than just an art exhibit, " A Place of Her Own" is a multi-phase, multi-venue arts project. For as surreal artist Cynthia Tom explained, "the project poses the question, “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?” And so "A Place of Her Own" invites artists and the public to respond in a variety of ways.
Flo Oy Wong and Kathy Fujii-Oka and Nellie Wong were among the guests at  A Place of Her Own  exhibi...
Flo Oy Wong and Kathy Fujii-Oka and Nellie Wong were among the guests at "A Place of Her Own" exhibit and workshop.
Courtesy of A Place of Her Own exhibit and Asian American Women Artists Association
In her work as an artist Cynthia understood a deep and often unspoken need. "Women, through necessity and parental or cultural training, learn to compromise themselves." "Women often set aside their own needs to support others to the point of losing them," she said. "Rarely have women learned to claim a place of their own, metaphorically or physically." "What happens when women expand the parameters beyond the concept of a room and discover a place, in which the limitations are bound by the imagination and nothing more is amazing." "The conceptual frame work and long term goal of this project is to generate a creative place for women to reconnect with themselves and make their aspirations visible." For Cynthia this is not simply another art project but a lifelong passion. The forming of the Asian American Women Artists Association is part of the process. She also serves as president of the association.
Musician/vocalist Cris Matos who attended the reception on July 31  2014 has been helping to documen...
Musician/vocalist Cris Matos who attended the reception on July 31, 2014 has been helping to document the event sponsored by the Asian American Artists Association, since its initial inception back in 2009.
Courtesy of Cynthia Tom and A Place of Her Own exhibit
For Cynthia just to form such an association of artistic women was a major step of empowerment. As an artist she always had a unique vision, feeling and form of expression that is considered "surreal." Yet for Cynthia it seems that deep sense of soul or spirit was also connected to something more. This greater aspect is what she seeks in all of her art, whether it be something she is expressing individually or collectively with other artists.
Sculptor and artist Susan Almazol displays her work at the six week exhibit and workshop now going o...
Sculptor and artist Susan Almazol displays her work at the six week exhibit and workshop now going on at Thoreau Center for Sustainability in San Francisco, CA.
Courtesy of A Place of Her Own exhibit and the Asian American Womens Artists Association
She explained, "the vision is not limited to staging an exhibition." "Just as important, is the community outreach that this project demands of AAWAA." "Whether it’s workshops, artistic endeavors, lectures, panel discussions, online or one on one, we have seen A PLACE of HER OWN (and note, Cynthia spells it out boldly in capital letters) inspire critical thinking." "The annual exhibit/workshop, she said, provides tools to research and grow confidence, while developing community in a safe and secure environment."
Preparing the way for the next generation of artists the AAWAA fosters mentoring and access to the a...
Preparing the way for the next generation of artists the AAWAA fosters mentoring and access to the arts for emerging artists and art students.
A Place of Her Own exhibit and the Asian American Women Artists Association
The exhibit and workshops "is an arts-based healing project offering solutions to the culturally enforced silence of Asian American women," said Cynthia.
In a world of change and constant upheaval in one form or another, Cynthia as artist sees her purpose as to explore the little-known or the misunderstood. Or as her talents would have it, to describe that which is not that easy to speak of. One of Cynthia's artistic gifts is to examine the subconscious as well as the hidden. Complex feelings, cultural norms and social expectations are all subjects she examines. She does more than examine them, she in a way, tries to understand them so to be released from the confinement of them.
A social practice artist and community organizer  Khai-Hoan Ngo combines the significant impact of a...
A social practice artist and community organizer, Khai-Hoan Ngo combines the significant impact of art and cultural anthropology to create positive change for the community. Ngô was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and came to San Francisco for her BFA in Advertising and is a current MA candidate of Expressive Arts Therapy at the California Institute for Integral Studies.
Courtesy of A Place of Her Own and the Asian American Women Artists Association
"This 'A Place of Her Own' project offers a growing, thoughtful community for discussion and query, and acts as a vehicle for the participants to focus solely on themselves." "The artists’ work is profound in process and realization. There are both declarations and revelations of discovery for both artists and visitors alike."
The 11 women artists that are participating this year are: Susan Almazol, Julie Anderson, Manon Bogerd-Wada, Reiko Fujii, Rupinder Kahlon, Mido Lee, Joan Manubug-Oamil, Wendy Khai Hoan Ngo, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Irene Wibawa and Maggie Yee.
Hosted at The Thoreau Center Sustainability in San Francisco, the almost two month-long installation includes an indoor 'magical' garden, an 'upcycled' mannequin, a glass jar containing what vandals did to a car and much more. "Works like these demonstrate the inner workings of each artists' internal thought process," said Cynthia. "And, their courage in examining a subject or feeling way outside that individual artist's comfort zone.
July 31  2014 marked the beginning of this year s  A Place of Her Own  exhibit at the Thoreau Center...
July 31, 2014 marked the beginning of this year's "A Place of Her Own" exhibit at the Thoreau Center, San Francisco, sponsored by the Asian American Women Artists Association. Seen here from left to right are: Mido Lee, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Byron Bacon, Cynthia Tom, Susan Almazol, Irene Wibawa, Manon B. Wada, Julie Anderson, Khai-Hoan Ngo and Reiko Fujii.
Courtesy of Cynthia Tom and "A Place of Her Own"
This year Cynthia is also pleased to be working with Dr. Trinity Ordona, PhD who specializes in healing work. A professor at City College of San Francisco, Dr. Ordona offers a self-healing program for survivors of trauma, violence or sexual abuse.
Cynthia Tom is very thankful for the support of Bruce DeMartini, of the Thoreau Center for Sustainability, The de Young Museum of Fine Art, The San Francisco Arts Commission and others for helping her and the AAWAA advance this unique and one-of-a-kind exhibit and workshop. She explained further, "AAWAA aims to challenge stereotypes by sharing impactful stories about Asian Americans, Asian American women, and our art. AAWAA is built on a foundation of social justice, camaraderie, mentoring and community. We believe that artists are the truth tellers." For more information about "A Place of Her Own" visit the web site or the page on Facebook.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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