MINNEAPOLIS — In celebration of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Asian Women United of Minnesota (AWUM) highlights a few Asian American artists in our midst.
For the past several years, AWUM has collaborated with local artists in support of our mission, which is to end domestic violence by promoting safe and healthy relationships within the Asian Pacific Islander community.
This week, we introduce Ms. Nayana Jha, a painter, graphic designer, illustrator, and jewelry designer.
Nayana has been a committed partner in promoting AWUM’s mission and we are honored to serve with her. She has generously donated many of her greetings cards to assist in our vital work.
AWUM asked Nayana a few questions about her work and the role of the arts in promoting social change. Here are her responses:
Q: What is your main art form?
Nayana: I tend to work in water-based colors primarily, ranging from traditional watercolor, tempera, ink and select bleeding-paper techniques. I love the feeling and effect of fluidity that water enables.
Q: How long have you been engaged in developing and refining your craft?
N: I have been painting since childhood, and my interest in design and art was my first passionate hobby. Although I never went to formal art school, I continued to study and refine my craft on my own all throughout my life.
Q: What motivates you to do art?
N: Nature, spirit and global tribal traditions motivate me the most. The mythologies of my homeland, India, along with native art (painting and mask) traditions of Asia, Africa, South America, inspire me greatly.
Q: What role does art play in creating positive social change?
N: Art can play a very significant role in creating social change, since it is often our most intimate expression of hopes, desires and dreams. For me, art and design should be pleasing to the eye and to the individual spirit.
Q: Why do you want your creative works to support AWUM’s mission?
N: I believe AWUM does extraordinary work transforming the lives of many women! Much of my work aligns with both the homeland artistic traditions of the women that AWUM serves, and moreover speaks to the power of manifesting peace and strengthening our individual potential through peace and contemplation.
To view more of Nayana’s art work: www.nayanajha.com. For Nayana’s greeting card collection, visit The Shambhala Meditation Center of Minneapolis.
To reach AWUM: www.awum.org or 24-hour crisis: 612-724-8823.
This article was contributed by AWUM.