Southfield Public Arts Commission presents PERSPECTIVES art exhibition and public reception featuring Asian artists May 5

April 24, 2023

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Exhibition in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month will be on display in City Hall until July 31

Mayor Kenson Siver and the Southfield Public Arts Commission will host PERSPECTIVES: Asian American Artists Opening Reception and public art exhibition on Friday, May 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. featuring nine Michigan-based Asian artists in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the Southfield City Hall Main Lobby, 26000 Evergreen Road.

The exhibition of work will be on display in the main lobby of Southfield City Hall until July 31 featuring: Hiroko Lancour, Yong Neff, Luzhen Qiu, Nobuko Yamasaki, Ben Kim, JenClare Gawaran, Kyoko Fujii, Julius Hwang, and Mino Watanabe. The opening reception will feature a special music performance by Xiao Dong Wei, Ikebana floral displays, a Chinese tea brewing table and Asian hors d’oeuvres. The event is free and open to the public.

The Southfield Public Arts Commission curates new exhibits of local artists' work quarterly.  This special exhibition of nine Asian artists, is the first of its kind for Southfield. “This is something the Commission has talked about as a way to network, promote diversity and inclusion, outreach to the community and support local artists,” commented Southfield Public Arts Commission Chairperson Delores Flagg. “We know that there are a lot of great artists in the city of Southfield and the metro area. They just need a platform and we’re just providing  them a showcase for their work.  We know the importance of showcasing art and artists. It a win-win situation for everyone.”

Kyoko Fujii

Born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Kyoko Fujii started learning shodo (書道 Japanese calligraphy) at the age of six and earned the title of Shihan master in her early 20s.  Since moving to Michigan in 2009, she has continued to practice and teach the fine art, embodying the spirit of “do (道),” which means lifelong learning in Japanese.

Among the different font styles and writing systems used in Japanese calligraphy, her favorite is the kana/hiragana style. Traditionally written vertically from top to bottom, kana resembles the smooth and rhythmic flow of water.

Kyoko regularly shares her art and expertise at colleges, community events, and cultural festivals including the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) where she does demonstrations on canvas using a large-scale brush.

Kyoko’s artwork blends traditional and modern designs. Her beautiful work can be found in various places, from company logos to living room walls, locally and abroad. She is thrilled to share her love of shodo and the spirit of Japan through her collection of works.


JenClare Gawaran

JenClare Gawaran is an artist and educator, born and raised in Metro Detroit.  She holds a BFA in art education from Michigan State University and an MFA in printmaking from Wayne State University.  As an educator, she teaches drawing, design and printmaking at various colleges & universities in the area.  JenClare had volunteered to run a contemporary art gallery in the Southwest Detroit and Islandview neighborhoods of Detroit.  More recently, she has been serving on the Board of Trustees at the Anton Art Center.  In addition to curatorial and gallery work, her prints have been shown locally in galleries such as the Detroit Artist Market and The Scarab Club.  JenClare has also shown nationally and abroad, from Los Angeles & New York to Jerusalem, Finland & China.  Her work is in the permanent collection of The Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University and the Guangdong Museum of Art in China.


Hiroko Lancour

Hiroko Lancour is a Japanese-born mixed media artist with an MFA from Wayne State University. Hiroko's work is influenced by her cross-cultural background of East and West, as well as her prior career as a systems analyst. Her work has been exhibited at various venues including the Scarab Club, Detroit; the Galerie Camille, Detroit; the Charles L. Freer House, Detroit; the Detroit Artists Market; Detroit Historical Society and Museum; the War Memorial, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI; University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI; and the Alden B. Dow Museum, Midland, MI.


Nobuko Yamasaki

Nobuko Yamasaki studied graphic design at Seika University in Kyoto Japan. After graduation, during an exhibition of her artwork, Nobuko met Richard Steiner, whom she continued her studies of Woodblock Printing with for five years. In 2020 during the lockdown, Nobuko came across an article about the famous Ink Dropping technique. Nobuko found making Ink Droppings a very challenging and interesting process and her newest work combines Woodblock Prints included Collage with the Ink Droppings. Nobuko is passionate and dedicated to her work and hopes to share her love for printmaking with others as well.

Mino Watanabe

Mino Watanabe was born in Nagoya, Japan. After receiving her art degree from Nagoya Zokei University, Mino worked several years in Japan as a commercial illustrator. In 2005, she moved to America to continue pursuing fine art and illustration by exhibiting her work in galleries and illustrating for children' books and other publications. While viewing Mino’s work, one can notice a thread of inspiration in her work combining nature, food, and fairy-tale. One may also find a subtle part of Mino’s creative spirit in each piece.


Luzhen Qiu

Luzhen Qiu is a Chinese American artist living in Metro Detroit. She was born in 1971, in Hangzhou, China. She graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a MFA degree. Luzhen has 28 years of art teaching experience, having taught art classes at Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Paint Creek Center for the Art in Michigan, and The National Academy of Art School in China.

In her works, Luzhen is always searching for ways of dealing with contents and forms by organizing objects from chaotic contents into re-arranged forms. She is a multi-disciplinary artist working with both representational and abstract artworks. Her art media consists of oil, acyclic, color pencil, and mixed media. With her colored pencil on laid mylar works, Luzhen makes a dreamscape from her memory by juxtaposing fragments of memories from her childhood, Chinese traditional fabric textiles, and old Chinese legends. Her works are visual poems with narrative content which draw the viewer into an open-ended story, layered with depth of transparency. During her graduate studies at Wayne State University, she was the recipient of various Graduate professional scholarships as well as Art and Art history Travel Fellowship. Her graduate project, the video animation titled “Highway” was presented at Teaching, Learning & Technology Roundtable (TLTR) 5th Annual Conference, Detroit, MI.

Luzhen’s artworks have been displayed in various galleries including the Form gallery in Cranbrook art museum, MI, Detroit artist market, Detroit Music Hall, Lansing gallery, High Art Gallery in Traverse City, Ann Arbor Art Center, Eastern Michigan University gallery, Michigan Museum of New Art, Touch stone gallery in DC, Farmington Museum in New Mexico, and the art gallery in China Academy of Fine Art School. Her work has received many awards including first place at the “2004 Art Environmental Activism” show, first place of the 2005 Canton art show, second place of the “2016 Silver medal Exhibition” among many others. She is also the recipient of the artist grants for Vermont artist residencies. Luzhen Illustrated the book titled “the dream of stars and moon” which has been published by Zhejiang province children publishing company in China.


Ben Kim

Ben Kim, is a Korean artist living in Michigan. He began his career by painting water based on the Four Gracious Plants of Korea. After that, he started oil painting and completed hundreds of the artworks. His style belongs to Impressionism, and he was particularly influenced by Vincent van Gogh. He published his first art book in 2018 and published his second three years later in 2021. Kim held a solo exhibition in the Korean Cultural Center while publishing his first art collection. During the exhibition, Kim’s works were loved by the many visitors and he directly sold dozens of pieces. Kim is one of the most influential Korean leaders in Metro Detroit's Korean community and currently serves as the chairman of the Korean American Cultural Center of Michigan.

Julius Hwang

Julius has been doing calligraphy for over 40 years. His works are very simple but sophisticated and beautiful; they express the beauty of Korea well. Julius has done a lot of volunteer work as a representative of the Korean community in the Detroit area and is currently a board member of the Korean American Cultural Center in Michigan and the Korean American Association in Detroit. He used to give foreigners Korean names at major Korean events, write them in calligraphy, and give them gifts. Many foreigners were delighted to receive the wonderful gifts and expressed their appreciation for the new experience.

Yong Neff

Yong is a latecomer to art. She started painting at the age of 65 and fell in love with oil painting. She has been taking weekly classes at the Korean Cultural Center in Michigan to practice her artwork. Since starting painting, she has practiced under two famous painters and has been working on a variety of works based on traditional Korean culture with her unique feminine delicacy. She went on a painting trip to Mexico and other places with fellow painters and practiced in a park in Michigan. As long as her health is good, Ms. Neff wants to continue painting and expressing the beautiful traditional culture of Korea.