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Exploring Identity Through Art: 'HuffPost' Profile on SVA Alumnus Monika Lin

From HuffPost: “’The female is supposed to be well-groomed, well-cultured, and bring all of this to marriage. So, from very early in my life, this was my training. As early as kindergarten I was taking art classes, so art was always part of my life. I also played several musical instruments and trained as a dancer. My high school experience was rich and full, and every waking moment was turned over to some pursuit.’

One could assume then, that Monika Lin never struggled with her identity as a visual artist, though she did struggle with her identity in other ways. Those other struggles have enlarged and enriched, and are a major preoccupation of the art that she produces today.

Born in Manhattan to birth-parents whom she never knew, Monika was adopted by a Swiss mother and a Chinese father who chose her because of their racial identities. Raised between New Jersey and California in the early 1960s and 1970s, she found life difficult and confusing. On the one hand, says the artist, her adoptive parents conveyed to her the sense that she was truly wanted; yet, her beginnings as someone who was given up for adoption at birth conveyed a sense of tremendous rejection.

Says the artist, ‘My case was the first adoption case that the lawyer in question handled. As such, he made some fundamental errors in what he was doing. Years later, at the age of 27 actually, when I started asking tough questions of my adoptive mother and really started to want to know more about my birth mother, she handed me my adoption file. At the bottom of that file was a handwritten piece of paper, a questionnaire, that let me know that my birth mother was quite young when she had me, and she was ethnically Chinese. The big surprise for me though, was that my father’s last name was given as Ramos. That was a very interesting revelation and indicates some other possible cultural reality.’

These days the artist identifies as Asian Latina American…” (For the full story and more images, click here)

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