My name is David Ma, I use traditional East-Asian decorative motifs in tension with Western self-concepts of individualism to collage various paradigms into a cluster of who I am and how I relate to society. Ruminating mediums of Painting and Sculpture, I explore the fragmentation of belonging, manufactured nostalgia, and iconography. I'm interested in how the charged potential of images can reveal heterotopias, these are cultural/institutional/and discursive spaces that are somehow 'other'. They're worlds-within-worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. I conflate these spaces to myself, a minority within American society, yet tethered not to this land. I’m interested in exploring the representation of space as ‘other’(heterotopia). This is mirrored in minority bodies in the West, what does it mean when someone who isn’t able to connect with their nationality embodies a physical space that is also othered? These spaces include abandoned buildings, cemeteries, and brothels. These are all on the outskirts of mainstream society, they exist due to various reasons, yet are avoided and looked down upon. Usually, ‘undesirable’ people such as minorities, people with disabilities, and prisoners, are forced to work for such spaces in order to maintain overall public benefit. These are spaces of discourse and cultural exchange, and exploitation. A site for excavation, I contribute to my community as both a participant and an outsider by visualizing the transformation of spaces and how we inhabit the heterotopias we create as collectives. Allowing viewers a closer observation of scenes of celebrations, gatherings, and mournings through borrowed'eyes'.
David Ma is a New York-born/based artist who grew up in Virginia. He navigates the mediums of Painting and Sculpture to shift through the clutter of mainstream American culture to look for the vibrant, often complicated portrayals of Asian lived experiences in American culture, swept by misconceptions and surface-level privileges. Ma has a BFA from New York University (2022). He has shown at 80WSE Gallery (New York, NY; 2022) in collaboration with the Institute of Fine Art, Ma received the Martin Wong Scholarship from the Martin Wong Foundation and the Richard Hirsch Memorial for Students in the Arts from New York University.
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