Femininity, Violence, and Asian-American Identity
Femininity, Violence, and Asian-American Identity in “Kelly Lu’s WAR!”
Bridget Gleeson, Artsy Editorial, July 8, 2016
In Kelly Lu’s vivid new work, delicate young women carry guns and wear gas masks, their pale flesh covered in tattoos, their expressions serene. These “angry Asian girls,” as Lu calls them, are stand-ins for the artist herself.
Lu, who is of Vietnamese descent, grew up in the American South. In high school, she was a minority—“the token Asian girl,” she says, who struggled to fit in. She felt pressure to suppress any trace of her cultural background; even her mother encouraged her to act and look more “American.” That early identity crisis sparked a quiet rage that smoldered for years. Finally, it reached a breaking point, one that exploded across the paper in “Kelly Lu’s WAR!”READ THE FULL FEATURE