Dare to Challenge
18W x 24H oil on linen, Donated to ACDC and AVOYCE, on permanent display at 66 Hudson St., ACDC's Affordable Housing Project in Boston
Statement from the subject:
My mother immigrated from China to the United States all alone with little understanding of English and its customs. She has experienced many obstacles since then. People at her workplace often question her capabilities due to her strong Chinese accent. However, my mother uses her determination and perseverance every day to fight for her right to be treated as an equal. So, I decided to wear my mother’s jacket, a blazer. Blazers, particularly if a woman is wearing them, represent female dominance, power, and resistance. These are traits that I equate my mother with and characteristics that I strive to uphold in my life today. ~ Selina Li
***Hear podcast interview of artist and statement by subject at:
Statement from the artist:
As the child of immigrants myself, Selina’s story struck a powerful chord. I wanted to capture some of that dauntless spirit that she is channeling from her mother, and to depict a confident Asian female that debunks common stereotypes. Obstacles are many, but with courage and perseverance they can be overcome. Selina also resonated with the saying that is engraved on Boston's Chinatown Gate (the Chinese characters to her right), that can be translated as "Everything under heaven is for the people", that reinforces a shared ideal of global equality.
Building on My Past
20W x 24H oil on linen, Donated to ACDC and AVOYCE, on permanent display at 66 Hudson St, Community Room, ACDC's Affordable Housing Project in Boston
Statement from the Subject:
This is your journey of strength and vulnerability that raised two daughters, Tina and me. We both saw you suffer and simultaneously, how America gave you the hardships of a lifetime and the thick skin to survive. You passed on persistence to the both of us as you also replaced your dreams with our new hopes.
Statement from the Artist:
I wanted to include a few key pieces of Lina’s journey—growing up in a tenement apartment above Hong Kong Eatery on Harrison Avenue; then, wearing her mother’s blouse and skirt, Lina first sits portraying her mom worried about making ends meet for her two daughters while challenged with language, culture, job skills; and then Lina stands depicting determination and hope to build on her past. Both Lina and Tina are now attending college with scholarship support.
Looking to the Future
8x10 Oil sketch on unstretched canvas
Collection of the artist
This was a sketch using an unlabeled photo from the ACDC website—I just liked her hopeful expression. I found out later that the subject is a double lottery winner—first for an affordable rental unit and then for an affordable condo apartment.
24Wx18H oil on linen
The AVOYCE youth congregated in front of Boston’s Chinatown Gate, one of their favorite gathering spots next to Chinatown Park. Their energy coalesced as they joined hands and jumped together. Originally, I envisioned painting the entire group with the Gate as a backdrop, but then decided that focusing on a few students with just a suggestion of the street behind them would convey their energy more clearly. If they are our future, we are in good hands.
Josiah Quincy School (sold)
24Wx18H oil on linen
The AVOYCE youth brought me to several of their favorite spots in Chinatown. I wanted to capture at least one “place” that was meaningful to them. The Josiah Quincy School was high on most everyone’s list, whether they attended, or used it as a local hangout. The School’s architecture and panel designs are so iconic. They had quickly spread out across the familiar space, using the structure like a giant jungle gym and recording each other on their phones.