Viewer in the Eli Marsh Gallery looking at watercolor illustrations on the wall

In the four corners of the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall, studio art majors graduating with honors have put their final projects on display.

Young-Ji Cho ’18, Miriam De La Riva Ovalle ’18, Cami Dominguez ’18 and An Hoang ’18 collectively celebrated the culmination of their senior year with an exhibition opening on April 25. Students, faculty and staff mingled around Hoang’s gouache paintings inspired by cities and architecture; Cho’s watercolor illustrations of Asian American figures; Dominguez’s video installations and sculptures; and Ovalle’s text-based video games that illuminate the immigrant experience in the United States.

Read on to learn more about the students’ senior honors thesis projects, which remain on view through Commencement on May 20.

Young-Ji Cho ’18, Where are my Heroes?

Hands flipping through book, portrait of Young-Ji Cho holding her book, colorful illustration of Yayoi Kusama painting

Cho’s wall label offers the perfect introduction to her project: “In 2017, a character in a children’s book was twice more likely to be a rabbit than an Asian Pacific child.” In response to learning this statistic, Cho, a double major in art & the history of art and English, is creating a series of children’s books about Asian American figures that aim to address the lack of diversity in children’s literature.

The watercolor illustrations on view are from the first completed book in the series, Painter of Polka Dots, about Japanese American artist Yayoi Kusama. “The book follows her life,” Cho says, “emphasizing the importance of perseverance and the potential for art to be a powerful healing mechanism.” Also on view are works in progress from Cho’s second book, about Tammy Duckworth, the first Asian American woman elected to Congress.

Miriam De La Riva Ovalle ’18, Hello, My Name Is ________

Gallery goers mingle around pedestals with TVs set up on top

A double major in art & the history of art and computer science, Ovalle created text-based video games about growing up in the United States as a Mexican immigrant. Included in the exhibition are three individual games and printed maps that correspond to her memories of crossing the U.S.-Mexican border as a child, her first day of school in the United States, and attempting to return to Mexico to visit her grandmother.

“My goal for the thesis was to tell my personal stories regarding being a Mexican immigrant in a way that allows viewers to emotionally connect to my struggles,” reads Ovalle’s exhibition label. The games begin with minimal white text on black backgrounds written from Ovalle’s point of view. Players can progress in the game by clicking on words that appear in bold. Sometimes there’s a choice of which word to click, while some screens only have one choice. Her hope is to inspire empathy and compassion for immigrants, whose choices are often limited.

Cami Dominguez ’18, Two Women in Uniform, Next to Each Other

Installation view of TV monitors and two people looking at them

Dominguez, an art & the history of art major, was recently awarded the Mead Art Museum’s Wise Award for Collection and Research. Her thesis project includes sculptural works and video installations that feature screen captures of YouTube videos from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and 2017 protests in Caracas, Venezuela.

“Unpredictability is the ground on which we lay out rules. Because we don’t know what might happen, we make up games that tie us together and tell us who we are to each other,” her exhibition label reads. “We draw lines so that we may be closed. But what if I want to be close to you?”

An Hoang ’18, Urban Flânerie – Stories from the Far East

Portrait of An Hoang in her exhibition

Hoang, who was recently awarded the Athanasios Demetrios Skouras Prize, created four series of gouache paintings inspired by Asian metropolises. During a seven-week trip funded by the Nagle Summer Research Collaboration in Asian Art and Culture Fellowship, Hoang explored Hanoi, Vietnam; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai and Tokyo. “Through walking aimlessly on purpose,” she says in the exhibition text, “I treasure hunt for little moments, wandering my way into the heart and soul of the city.

Hoang recorded her observations via sketching, photography and audio-recordings, and ultimately created a series of small paintings for each city that conceptually represent her experiences. “Each painting speaks of a moment in the city, frozen in time, artificially constructed from memories and imagination,” she says. Next fall, she’ll begin a master’s program in architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

The Studio Seniors Honors Exhibition remains on view in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall through Commencement on May 20.

Eli Marsh Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Special Hours for Commencement: Saturday, May 19, & Sunday, May 20, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.