Featured Artist Project: Monica Ong
October 5 - December 15
MONICA ONG: CELESTIAL BODIES
October 5 – December 15, 2018
Organized by Alexander Campos, Executive Director & Curator of the Center for Book Arts
1: of or relating to the sky or visible heavens
2: (capitalized) of or relating to China or the Chinese
3: eminently pleasing
Monica Ong is a visual poet whose new series of hybrid image-poems experiment with diagram and diary at the intersection of language, art, and science. Her recent body of work draws from astronomical diagrams and maps, weaving in echoes of her own migratory lineage to explore precarious territories of motherhood, gender, and identity. These experiments seek to rewrite the stars from a female perspective, to claim and discover new dimensions of space, and examine the power struggles that myth making elicits.
Monica began exploring poetry in the form of installations that culminated in her debut collection Silent Anatomies (Kore Press, 2015). These selections investigate the cultural silences that shape the medical-emotional landscape of her family diaspora, extending from China, to the Philippines, to North America. Whether it is shame obscuring the female body, the social stigma shrouding certain illnesses, or the cryptic stories of her ancestors, Monica interrogates the agency of the daughter, who must decide whether or not to speak out. What happens to stories that go underreported, un-translated, or are completely erased? These poems are as much visual journeys as they are lyrical haunts of medicine and memory, employing a range of medical ephemera, from x-ray scans to anatomical drawings to an apothecary of cultural remedies.
At the heart of Monica’s process is the pleasure of poetry and bringing to the alchemy of text and image a spirit of play.
Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program is provided, in part, by the New York State Council for the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs of the city of New York in partnership with the City Council.