Art Exhibit: The Year of The Rabbits by Qi You
Portland Center Stage will host The Year of the Rabbits, an art exhibit by Portland-based artist Qi You.
The Year of the Rabbits draws upon the artist’s history as a design student at China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Qi. It involves reinventing traditional zodiac animal iconography and bringing her wishes into a new collective story with this dedicated life-long project. From Beijing to Portland, from the ironic expression to bridging identities in her second home, the year of the rabbit 2023 is a fresh new start for the symbols after reaching its 12-year cycle.
This gallery exhibit will be on display in the PGE Gallery Lobby and will include a mix of prints on varied mediums. The exhibit opens on January 20, 2023, and will be on view daily through March 26, 2023.
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
In 2011 Qi drew a rabbit made out of logos using Adobe Illustrator on her first MacBook pro while she was enrolled as a design student at China Central Academy of Fine Arts. The imaginary rabbit is a Chinese folk art-inspired Playboy bunny carrying a Lancôme rosebud in its mouth. The Playboy logo is her visual memory of growing up in Beijing: popular images from a fancy fountain pen cap to a luxurious crocodile belt clip. The rhythm of folk art decorated patterns on the rabbit is actually her real interest. After printing out the red poster rabbit, she stuck her art with her family on their door on Lunar new year's eve, as other families do around the country - a very basic custom for blessing happiness from generation to generation.
Qi hasn't stopped making these zodiac animal prints and bringing in wishes into a collective story with this dedicated life-long project. From Beijing to Portland, from the ironic expression to bridging identities in her second home, the year of the rabbit 2023 is a fresh new start after reaching its 12-year round.
In Qi's words: "In 2021, the year of the ox, things quietly changed in my consciousness. Following the energy of social change, I spoke up by creating the ox image more boldly. I combined cultures outside of my own heritage, to bring cultures together and create a new myth kind of thing. In some superstitions the black background means unlucky. but in the action of my prints is being solidarity, a cultural shift, and inner responsibility. the black background indicates finding lights in the dark, and somehow there is still a bit of Chinese folk art feeling in it.”
"I see logos as a mutual visual element/connection in our modern lives, equally as symbols in the cave paintings in the stone age. The language of logos that I have been incorporating in my art for 13 years is meant to compose a new scene out of original individual contexts. I envision this coexistence harmoniously by using my visual "kung fu” (#$: gong fu). My Chinese professors refer to that as an artist, the basic foundation of composing and building imageries through visual languages and skills."
"I believe my "kung fu” can make the impossible possible, to provide the paths for folks to reimagine a more peaceful Earth and realize how interconnected we all are.”
Qi You is an Asian American visual artist, designer, and dreamer based in Portland, Oregon.
Qi grew up in a quiet neighborhood in Beijing. In her art practice, she explores languages ranging from two-dimensional to time-based media. She uses design as the tool of care and wholeness, breaking down the barriers, to rediscover and reconnect, from herself to the rest of the world around.
Qi holds an MFA in Expanded Media from the School of Art and Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and a B.F.A. in Design from China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Qi You's work has been shown and screened at Anthology Film Archives, New York; Bronx Art Space, New York; Imago Galleries, Palm Desert; New Filmmakers Cooperative (New American Cinema Group), New York; NorthWest Film Forum, Seattle; Powell's City of Books-Basil Hallward Gallery, Portland Chinatown Museum and the Lumber Room in Portland, Oregon as well as the Today Art Museum, Beijing.
View more of her work on her website here.
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