Above: “data privacy” by stockcatalog licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Asia Awaken: a global showcase of NFTs curated by Cyber YuYu and Sixela

Explore Asian Heritage month through the lens of art inspired by Asian stories, cultures, and creativity.
SuperRare
1 month ago

Curatorial Statement:

How we define the term “Asian Art” is often driven by our visual and popular culture. Despite the constant cultural exchanges of the last two centuries between east and west, the mainstream perception of ‘Asian’ art remains limited to what is described as ‘different’ or even ‘exotic’. As Asia becomes ever more impactful on the world’s stage, the need to understand its diverse cultures and rich history becomes increasingly important1.

Asian art in general, and Japanese art in particular, majorly impacted and coined European artists (especially from the beginning of the nineteenth century). Influences in modern art can be traced in esteemed masterpieces of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Vincent Van Gogh – among many other impressionists. Surprisingly, Asian art was never really recognised as an art style competing with the European and American art styles and movements. In the book ‘Contemporary Asian Art and its Western Perception’ (2002), David Clarke writes: “Despite vastly increased possibilities for travel and the massive high-speed flows of information between cultures in our electronic age, the asymmetry of knowledge which prevailed in the 1920s and 1930s still exists: it is the Asian contemporary artist who knows what his or hers American counterpart is doing and not the other way around.”

‘ASIA AWAKEN’ aims to provide an alternative narrative on how western societies perceive asian creativity in the age of digital renaissance. The show brings an expanded scope of Asian art and guides the viewers through an emotional and colourful exploration of identity. Through the power of Web3 and blockchain technology, ‘ASIA AWAKEN’ highlights under-represented Asian artists and reclaims their spot in the global art scene.

Collectively, the exhibition offers only a partial glimpse of the fascinating plurality of Asian creativity. Nonetheless, ‘ASIA AWAKEN’ not only celebrates the Asian NFT community, but also empowers Asian artists to be fearless and to unapologetically express themselves to the world! To seize the opportunities Web3 is providing them and to combat the appropriation of their creativity.

In honour of Asian Heritage Month we invite all Web3 to come together to celebrate the incredible diversity that is our strength and to be resolute in our stand against all forms of anti-Asian rhetorics and cultural erasures.

My work is all about perception of our reality by showing the familiar under an unfamiliar light. In doing this can we change our perception of the world? Many people describe my art as otherworldly but it’s actually intended to show that this is our very own planet.

— Reuben Wu

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

I explore what it means to be me. That is the only thing i have that is truly unique to me and the only thing I can draw my vision from. My cultural heritage is a fundamental part of that and has shaped my life in many ways. 

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

Critical thinking and more nuanced conversations that push ideas forward, rather than in circles. Let’s continue to make money from our art, rather than enable others to make money from artist.

“The Hug” by Shavonne Wong

In a lot of my works, I try to share fairly positive messages like love, togetherness and empowerment. It sounds a little cheesy but it’s truly what I enjoy doing.

— Shavonne Wong

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

Exploring my ancestry is not a big priority for me when it comes to my artworks. Sometimes it comes through subconsciously through the things I have experienced in life, but more often than not, my works are influenced by the media I consume which is not localized to just Asian culture.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

Proper support for diversity. I believe the burden of diversity sits strongly on the shoulders of NFT marketplaces and galleries as they are the first place collectors go to see art. Diversity should not happen only when it’s the “right month” or the hype thing to do. Diversity should not happen in selected exhibitions just for minorities. A sincere effort into pushing representation is to go into these communities, find the talented minority artists, and put them in the same exhibition or feature article as the rest of the talented artists around the world… all year round.

In my work, I discuss my own emotion experience of life in a surreal style. I am an emotional person, I think human emotions are complicated, they’re never black and white or simply happy or sad. There are so many layers of emotions when you have something happening in your life. I share those complex emotions through my surreal symbolism in my art. Surrealism is a tribute to the mind. As Dalí said, a surrealist looks at an object and sees something that is not there. My artworks are puzzles with metaphors of human emotions.

— Yin

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

In the work “Puberty,” I shared my feelings towards some Chinese family values. The work is about the feeling of disconnection with reality when you are teenager, and family plays a big part in that time of life. Apart from all their love and care, my family expects kids to not show desires of their own and to take responsibility for the family. Being gay, loving art, and being spiritually independent, I was not appreciated for the qualities that I value myself. My work is about that emotion of being lost because of the disconnection between my family’s expectations and myself. I felt reality then was more fictional, and I feel more alive and real when I am in the fantasy world I create.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

More opportunity for emerging minority group artists to showcase their talent and vision.

“Superficial” by Rensi Ardinta

The theme of my art always comes from my personal experience in life. It tries to tell story about my emotions towards an event of my life or can be a respond to everything that’s been happening around me. Sometimes it can come out as a form of personal opinion on certain matters. I use my art as a vessel to share my experience, unafraid to be judged and without any judgements.

— Rensi Ardinta

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

Unconsciously, I explore my Asian ancestry through the demeanor of my character and the symbols I use around her.  I have the tendency to depict a woman character with more reserved pose, never fully revealed her entire body.  It’s something that comes from my Eastern culture that’s still embedded in me until now. The symbols I use also a representation of my cultural heritage. Asians, specifically Indonesians, always use symbols in their historical heritage; in temple’s walls, statues, and many other.  I find my heritage to be more mysterious and romantic in a way because of the usage of the symbols. And it shows in my creations.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

The lack of appreciation and highlight to the 1/1 artist on several marketplaces is definitely something needs to look upon. I noticed that only SuperRare does this diligently on their features. I believe this helps many emerging artists to get recognition they needed.

The art and visual storytelling I am doing, is just a reflection of my feelings and my experiences I did. I’m glad that people can resonate with the artworks I am doing. Maybe they feel the same way, like I did.

— Duke +1

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

My ancestry is very rooted in my subconscious. Growing up with two cultures — Vietnamese and European (German), my art reflects these cultures with a pragmatic but playful twist. Heavy influenced by poster art and European (Suisse) poster design — with a sentimental and energetic touch.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

More cross chains, and diversity for the whole artist community.

“Yes I Am!” by bluugu

As a Korean Australian who lived in both countries 50/50 of my time, I got confused about who I really am and where I belong to. My work communicates the journey of finding my belongings. I also often speak about my personal experiences happening around me.

— bluugu

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

I like to use symbolic items in my works such as traditional masks, flags, characters behavior/poses, dresses and most importantly colours.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

As an artist, I’d like to see my work much bigger. Best part of my work is details and often in a smaller displays, it’s hard to see. UX/UI part of market places are difficult and uncomfortable to use, not all of them are but some are.

My art use expressive color palette and high-level details to depict stories inspired by my personal experience in a surreal way, which on some level connect more deeply and directly with human experience.

— Willea Zwey

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

I sometimes incorporate elements from my culture into my work with my own interpretation and  narratives.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

Would like to implement a standard search function across all major platform for organic discovery (key words, categories and etc).

“Bouquet” by Cheesetalk (Yuqian Sun)

I create art with AI to reconstruct people’s perceptions of previous concepts and experiences. I made AI chatbots to let people communicate with something they are not familiar with. AI agents are like a reflection of human knowledge, so I hope people can reconsider their identity through my works.

— Cheesetalk (Yuqian Sun)

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

I feel the pain and strength of females always influence my aesthetics and arts. I want to show fragility and sternness at the same time.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

We lack a complete approach to fight against plagiarism. Still many artists are having their work stolen, but the process of defending their rights is difficult because they have not learned about NFTs before. Other artists who have not yet understood NFTs may see it and become even more disgusted. This has a very negative impact on the NFT marketplace.

“Prana” by Archan Nair

Archan’s visual expressions are part of journey which is influenced by the mysteries of existence and how every action, emotion, our interconnectedness in universal scale sets of chain of reactions. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Vogue, and VICE Creators. and has achieved recognition from music artists like Kanye West along with collaborations with Lindsay Lohan and Justine Bateman and brands such as Nike, Sony, Redbull, Microsoft, Samsung among many others. 

My art explores and embraces individuality through an aspect of appropriation. I draw inspiration from human experiences and i aim to offer a diverse perspective using my creations.

— YuYu

How do you explore your ancestry through your artworks?

I don’t consider my work as exploring my ancestry, or any ancestry in particular. My ancestry is part of my story and it is ingrained in me. But it is also not the sole factor that defines me—my work explores my identity as a whole and embraces all aspects of it.

What is missing in the NFT marketplace?

Understanding and respect towards different cultural backgrounds when it comes to opportunities. Web3 needs to overcome the burdens of Web2 and truly become an inclusive environment where success is not only withheld to the west.

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