Su Yu

Region: MFA Annual

My work explores the process of affirming the self: a foreign, nonwhite, nonstraight male subject. Experiencing othering from both China and the US, and often having to conceal certain aspects of myself, I use my work to find the courage, confidence, and honesty to promote social change. In her book All About Love, bell hooks argues for a more community-driven, decentralized, loving environment. This provides an alternative to what I’ve mostly experienced at home and in various institutions.

My current work makes visible the community that has been helping me evolve. It also contends with a Western audience. I’ve invited several of my close friends to become part of my work. They all have been accepting and welcoming, even though we come from different backgrounds. I use painting to capture moments of intimacy and understanding as well as tension, while adding text elements to expand and complicate the visual. I want us to be more than aesthetic objects. I want us to be heard as well.