Minette Lee Mangahas is an artist and curator whose work has been featured in workshops, group and solo exhibitions in the US and abroad, including Bay Area venues such as the Kearny Street Workshop's APAture Festival and Space 180, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the SomArts Cultural Center, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is interested in the role of traditional arts in fostering cultural understanding and social change and has used calligraphy and ink painting in performance, animation, sculpture, and installation.
A product of the Asian and American diasporas, I am fascinated by narratives of migration and hybridity. I love the ambiguity and discovery that comes from mixing things up. And through East Asian calligraphy, I’ve come to see the art of mark-making as a mirror for telling the stories of diaspora.
My work is about movement and what happens when people move. I use ink painting to reference the history of migration in Asia and also because it employs movement in its expression on the page. When people move, culture, language, writing, and art move and evolve. —Perhaps, in fact, my work is what happens when people move, and my practice is a documentation and experimentation with the process of art in diaspora.
In addition, I am interested in the freedom and fear we experience when we move. I want to explore the tension and attraction of difference. I like to think that perhaps what divides us also has the potential to connect us in profound ways. I believe that we can find freedom in acknowledging our complexity. Like the little horse in “Runaway Moon,” I find that I am often running away—from my fears, my hopes, my dreams, my wounds, my triumphs. Though I know that I can only run so far before realizing that all those things are inherently part of me. And it is in fact those things that should set me free. For me, the process of making work is about the inner and outer struggle for freedom. And it is about the liberation that can come from embracing what is born in-between, what we do not know, and sometimes what we fear.