(Posted November 2, 2015)

Juniata College Museum of Art will feature "Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, a Story of Immigration," an in-depth look at migration and identity seen through 25 vibrant paintings by Belle Yang, to be displayed from Thursday, Nov. 12, through Feb. 6.
Juniata College Museum of Art will feature "Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, a Story of Immigration," an in-depth look at migration and identity seen through 25 vibrant paintings by Belle Yang, to be displayed from Thursday, Nov. 12, through Feb. 6.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College Museum of Art will feature "Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, a Story of Immigration," an in-depth look at migration and identity seen through 25 vibrant paintings by Belle Yang, to be displayed from Thursday, Nov. 12, through Feb. 6.

There will be an opening reception at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. Both the reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Yang is an author, graphic novelist and painter who translates her experiences as a Chinese-American immigrant into vivid, powerful works of art.

"Crossing Cultures" sheds light on Yang's own move to the United States with her family from China at the age of 7. Her art often refers to the fact that every American is essentially an immigrant. Amy Tan, Chinese-American author of "The Joy Luck Club," remarked that Yang "writes in English and thinks in Chinese," endowing her works with a unique combination of accessibility and intimacy.

Juniata has long been committed to international studies, and Yang's body of work speaks strongly to the process of coming and going across cultures. Kathryn Blake, director of the Juniata College Museum of Art and instructor in art history and museum studies, says, "Immigration is a pertinent topic globally at this point. In central Pennsylvania , people have German, Irish, Dutch roots. We all in some aspect belong to an immigrant culture."

"In her images you can see traditional Chinese painting come through. It will be a great place to bring children from the Juniata and Huntingdon communities. I think it will bring the two together."

Kathryn Blake, director of the Juniata College Museum of Art

Gallery-goers can look forward to the diverse aesthetics that Yang's exhibition will bring to Juniata's campus. "In her images you can see traditional Chinese painting come through. We don't have that in our collection," says Blake. "The exhibit has very bright colors, it's very charming. It will be a great place to bring children from the Juniata and Huntingdon communities. I think it will bring the two together."

Yang studied at the Beijing Academy of Traditional Chinese Painting where she developed an appreciation and respect for traditional ink paintings and folk art. Her acquired fluency in Mandarin Chinese allowed her to unlock a colorful wealth of stories from her father and his ancestors. After witnessing the horrors of the Tiananmen Massacre, Yang returned to the United States determined to serve as a voice of justice for immigrants.

In "Baba: A Return to China upon My Father's Shoulders," Yang's first self-illustrated publication, she shares her family history by retelling stories from her father about his life in Manchuria, China. Her father was 6 when he was forced from his homeland after a Japanese invasion.

Kirkus Reviews compares Yang's work to "a lovely painted scroll swimming with wild souls, beasts, birds, flowers, day and night sky, tragedy and hope." Additionally, she has published self-illustrated bilingual books for children, works of non-fiction for adults and the graphic novel memoir "Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale."

By Tyler Ayres

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.