Cheryll Leo-Gwin

No Applause, 2016
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 36 in
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I’m a 4th generation Chinese American artist whose family (including herself) was separated by Canadian and American immigration laws for 7 years. For the past couple of decades my work has been informed by these “twin acts”: US Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882-1943, and the Canadian Chinese Exclusion Act (also known as the Head Tax of 1923-1947). My work tells the stories of not only my own experiences and that of the rest of my family, but are universal to all who have come to America to make a new home. For the past 10 years, I’ve collected oral histories from Chinese women and the US and China who have lived through periods of revolution in their respective countries. This has led to an interest in the Chinese women who have a foot in more than one country and their journey to become US citizens. Using a variety of material, I tell their stories through painting and sculpture.