Devoted: Religion in Asian American Art

May 9 – June 4, 2024

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 9, 2024, 6–8pm

Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to partner with EFA Project Space, a program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, to present Devoted: Religion in Asian American Art, a group exhibition on theological influences in work by Zain Alam, Shelly Bahl, Baseera Khan, Dew Kim, Heesoo Kwon, and Sunnie Liu. Whether practicing or non-practicing, the featured artists draw upon tensions arising from making work as Asian Americans in the context of the United States as a de facto Christian nation.

Though by no means comprehensive in scope, Devoted presents potential facets of religious influence, whether it be divine revelation, challenging dominant theological claims, or simply pious commitment to one’s craft. By following the link between religion and Asian American identity, the exhibition confronts myths of the East as inherently more mystical than the rational West (as voiced in criticisms by Palestinian scholar Edward Said). They also refute the vision of so-called Orientals as “heathens” in need of rescue—as Kathryn Gin Lum has described perceptions of non-Christian immigrants in the US, alongside Indigenous and enslaved Black peoples—that has continued since the nation’s founding. Religious belief, then, plays a central yet under-acknowledged role in racial othering, fomenting some of the most urgent political tensions today and forming a common link of inquiry between the works on view.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; the Howard Gilman Foundation; and numerous individuals. www.aaartsalliance.org

Public Programs
Artist-led Walkthrough
Wednesday, May 15, 11am–12:30pm
Free, RSVP required

May Town Hall: Sanctuary
Tuesday, May 21, 6:30-8:15pm
Free, RSVP required

Portfolio in Practice
Tuesday, June 4, 6:00–8:30pm
Tickets required

About EFA Project Space
EFA Project Space, launched in September 2008 as a program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary arts venue founded on the belief that art is directly connected to the individuals who produce it and the communities that arise because of it. For more information, please see EFA’s website.

323 West 39th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10018
Open Tuesday–Saturday, 12:00–6:00pm (Admission is free and open to the public)

Add to Calendar

Organized by

Danielle Wu