Westbury Arts Celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

westbury arts
Nayyar Iqbal, Joan Kim Suzuk, Mara Ahmed, Patricia Shih & Safia Fatima (Photo by Ed Shin)

By Lyn Dobrin

Six original works by Long Island artists representative of the Pan-Asian Community and organized around the theme “Honoring the Past, Creating the Future” are on display in the Westbury Arts gallery.

Mara Ahmed is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker. Her mixed media collages, from her series called This Heirloom, reflect her Muslim heritage. Mara’s mother’s family fled India in 1947 as ethnic cleansing began to alter the city’s demographics and found refuge in Pakistan. She says, “In this series, I recreated my own history by using old family photographs, juxtaposing them against South Asian architectural details, and subverting boundaries by placing people on the wrong side of the India-Pakistan border. Art allows us to imagine alternative futures.”

Anu Annam is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed exhibiting artist, art educator, arts administrator, and curator. Anu seeks to aid in the cultural integration of the disabled community, advocating for the inclusivity of physically challenged and neurodiverse people of any race/culture/religion, level of education, class, history of trauma/abuse, gender, and sexual orientation in their daily work. Says Anu, “I capture individual mental states, auras, and nuances of personalities in portraiture, focusing on self-portraiture during times of introspection.”

Safia Fatima teaches photography, graphic design, ceramics, and filmmaking (a program she established) at Great Neck South High School. On display are her recent self-portraits. Her current artistic practice focuses on digital photographic montage, portraiture, and collage. She says that as she ages, she is forced to reconcile her own feelings about aging and beauty. “This recent series of self-portraits allows me to both understand and embrace how I appear and am perceived at this moment.”

Nayyar Iqbal paints with bold colors and strokes. “My passion for painting is street scenes and old buildings of cities balanced with daily life around us,” she says. On display are her oil paintings: Macy’s Broadway. Street Scene, Jharoka and Fall in My Neighborhood.

Patricia Shih has been a creative artist in multiple media her entire life, starting at the age of 4 when she won her first art award. Since then, she has made her full-time living in the visual and performing arts including music, theatre, video and filmmaking. On display is her oil painting The Comb, and two photographs: Littlest Santa and Moon Bridge.

Joan Kim Suzuki was born in the USA, but never forgot her Korean heritage while growing up. She lived with her grandmother who had survived many wars. Joan always felt deeply confused about her identity, whether she was American or Asian, until she had an eye-opening opportunity to live, work and even have two children in Seoul, Korea. “I realize now,” she says, “that I can be both Asian and American,” painting her own modern approach to traditional Korean folk art.

Westbury Arts is located at 255 Schenck Ave. in the Village of Westbury. Exhibition dates are Friday, May 6 through Friday, May 27. Gallery hours are Fridays, 6/13, 20, and 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 6/14 and 21 from noon to 4:00 p.m.

This event is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and is administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.

Image 14 Safia Fatima Stanley Turetsky Margo Messina Alex Nunez
Safia Fatima, Stanley Turetsky, Margo Messina & Alex Nunez (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 13 Aitezaz Ahmed Mara Ahmed
Aitezaz Ahmed & Mara Ahmed (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 12 Mara Ahmed
Mara Ahmed (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 11 Anu Annam
Anu Annam (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 10 Stephen Fricker Patricia Shih Anu Annam
Stephen Fricker, Patricia Shih & Anu Annam (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 9 Margo Messina
Margo Messina (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 8 Nayyar Iqbal Mara Ahmed
Nayyar Iqbal & Mara Ahmed (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 7 Stanley Turetsky
Stanley Turetsky (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 6 Wendi Weng
Wendi Weng (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 5 Wendi Weng teaching the chinese numerals
Wendi Weng teaching the Chinese numerals (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 4 Anu Annam Stanley Turetsky
Anu Annam & Stanley Turetsky (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 3 Patricia Shih
Patricia Shih (Photo by Ed Shin)
Image 2 Philip Ko Joan Kim Suzuk
Philip Ko & Joan Kim Suzuk (Photo by Ed Shin)

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