KPU Instructor Featured in Museum of Anthropology Ceramics Exhibit

Ying-Yueh Chuang’s artwork is on display as part of Playing with Fire: Ceramics of the Extraordinary

This piece created by Ying-Yueh out of ceramics and glass is called Plant Creature. (submitted)

The Museum of Anthropology, located on the UBC campus in Vancouver, is known for displaying various programs and cultural exhibitions. The MOA also promotes artwork from different communities around the world.

According to MOA’s website, it hosts three or four temporary exhibitions a year as well as a wide range of public programs and events. One of those exhibitions for 2020 is Playing with Fire: Ceramics of the Extraordinary, which features work by KPU fine arts instructor Ying-Yueh Chuang.

“The collection of works as a whole is spectacular, tempting viewers to approach closer, only to discover that nothing is quite as it appears,” reads the MOA’s website. “Individually, the ceramic pieces may appear to be nostalgic, humorous, fragile, beautiful or unassuming, but closer inspection reveals provocative commentary on issues like social injustice, racism, identity and censorship.”

This piece created by Ying-Yueh out of ceramics and glass is called Cross Series #3 (Submitted)

“In Playing with Fire, the artists defiantly and boldly challenge the notion that all things made of clay are required to be functional; in their works, clay is released from this constraint and elevated into extraordinary works of art.”

The B.C.-based ceramics art exhibit was introduced in November and will be continuing until March 29.

“When you play with fire it’s almost fun, but at the same time it’s dangerous too,” says Chuang. “It’s risk-taking and requires discipline to have fun and challenge yourself. It also has excitement and requires you to be careful not to burn yourself.”

Chuang, who is originally from Taiwan, started teaching at KPU in 2014. She says her ceramic artwork is inspired by and portrays themes related to nature, religion, and socioeconomic class.

Chuang feels thankful that two of her ceramics pieces have been presented in the exhibition, including “Cross Series #3”, which took six years to complete.

“In Western culture, a cross means paradise where the four rivers meet, and I start to lay that out into the installation,” she says.

When Chuang started working on the piece, it was smaller and depicted tiny plants in a garden. After it had been created, she began to focus on how it could be added to. Eventually, it turned into the final, larger piece.

“We as humans take a piece of land and organize it in such a way to our ideology that it becomes a paradise for us,” Chuang says. “When you repeat the format you get a great system, which is an easy and simple way to organize a complicated thought.”

Chuang hopes that the exhibition will help attendees understand how much can be done with ceramics and what artists are doing in the contemporary ceramic world.