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Sharon Robertson

刘思羽(Liu Siyu)
Sharon Robertson

I started learning art at a very young age. It almost feels like another life when I look back to those years of professional training at one of the top art schools in China. I often tell people that growing up, I was well trained as a painter, but I was never trained as an artist. Most of my sense of art came from life itself, but because of the highly technical way in which I was trained, it is very new to me—and very hard—to try to speak for myself through art.

Almost 10 years ago, I “quit” being an artist and started working. I didn’t hate it; my job was stable, and it provided me all I needed during a time when I lived in Shanghai. It was actually pretty awesome. But when I moved to the States and had my first born daughter, things started to change. I started to face the reality of life; I was a single mother of a Nigerian Chinese mixed race child. Given the demographics and social realities of China, I knew that I couldn’t go back to Shanghai to raise her. So I started to work as hard as I could in order to stay. I began reading more about politics and caring more about the news. And along the way, I’ve spent years on YouTube figuring out how to detangle (ideally without breaking) and style my daughter’s hair. Even now, I still feel like I have a lot more to learn. Then, of course, my second born, a Norwegian Chinese mixed baby came along with this silky smooth hair that holds nothing…oh well.

I love art. And I want to use what I do to speak for my children and what they might be able to represent. The mixed race population is growing, and for them to be able to feel normal growing up and safe in their adulthood, there’s a lot that needs to be changed. I’m still addicted to strokes, brushes, the touch of oil and fabric, but I am more aware of the power of art for expression and social engagement.

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Earlier Event: July 9
Kari Maxwell