Image courtesy of Huang.
By Maria Mattingly
Jasmine Huang (C’21) is an art major at Sewanee from the outskirts of Memphis, Tennessee.
Huang describes her artistic journey beginning in early childhood with her father collecting and saving her drawings in plastic binders. In elementary school, Huang began to recognize her natural artistic skills and started to take her art practice more seriously, noting the influence of various art teachers.
When asked about her preferred artistic mediums, Huang said, “I have a deep appreciation for music and the performing arts, but I’ve always been more of a visual artist.”
Huang continued exploring the visual arts throughout high school, which led her to pursue different scholarship opportunities as she applied to college. “Funnily enough, that’s how I came to be at Sewanee,” she said. As an incoming freshman, Huang was awarded the Guarisco scholarship, an opportunity for students interested in studio art or art history.
Other factors Huang cites as reasons she chose Sewanee are the close connections she could form with faculty as well as her desire for a liberal arts education. Studio Technician Assistant Greg Petropolis and Professor Pradip Malde have been particularly influential in Huang’s artistic development at Sewanee. Huang described Petropolis and Malde as people whom she can “go to for advice, art-related and non-art related.” Outside of Sewanee, Huang lists Xu Bing, Sun Xun, Jordan Casteel, and Carrie Mae Weems as artists whose work she has been paying close attention to.
Huang’s interest in politics, immigration, and displacement has shaped a large portion of her recent artistic endeavors. As she quarantined with her family during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Huang produced a body of oil paintings with a common motif of migratory experiences, language loss, and identity. Coming from an immigrant background, Huang explained that this theme is a personal issue for her and a part of her sense of self. Thus, being physically separated from her family at Sewanee has affected the way Huang produces work as well as the work she is able to produce.
Huang describes her current project as a series of “intimate portraits of my friends and people around me in spaces at Sewanee, but I’ve been struggling with making it not specific to Sewanee…whatever I’m trying to create goes beyond just a college campus.”
Huang is currently producing work for her senior thesis, which will include a multitude of close, intimate photographic portraits narrating friendships, places, and interactions. She is using digital photographic processes as well as platinum palladium printing techniques, working alongside the aforementioned Professor Malde.
In the future, Huang hopes to be an exhibiting artist, in addition to pursuing other interests and career paths. She intends to continue to incorporate themes of language loss and identity into any and all work that she does.