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ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY
Cheers to Muses is a pioneering anthology featuring visual art, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by Asian American women, who challenge contemporary and historical assumptions about what it means to create Asian American art. Cheers to Muses consists of 128 pages richly illustrated with 46 color plates. It features 64 artists and 77 visual and literary works by artists ranging in age from 14 to 85.
Cheers to Muses is a significant resource for insight into in-depth studies of contemporary Asian American women artists and their historic, artistic lineage.
What makes this anthology unique are the moving dedications, written by the contributors, to non-familial Asian American women whose lives or works have influenced and inspired their own. These heartfelt affirmations are a testament to the powerful influence these muses have had on the artists and writers. They serve as an important reminder that these contemporary artists and writers are a part of a continuum of the Asian American woman’s struggle for independence and creative freedom.
Contributors’ ancestries can be traced to more than 35 countries, including Burma, China, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Korean, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the United States. Muses include artists Ruth Asawa and Yoko Ono; architect Maya Lin; writer Maxine Hong-Kingston; political activist Yuri Kochiyama; film director Mira Nair; actresses Anna May Wong and Nancy Kwan; and golfer Michelle Wie; as well as a mother, a flower-arranger, and a waitress/cook. Three contributors – installation artist Dawn Nakanishi; editor and writer Roshni Rustomji; and artist and AAWAA co-founder, Flo Oy Wong – are themselves cited as muses by others.
These dedications also serve as important historical documentation of this struggle and the heroic muses who have been at its forefront. The anthology supports AAWAA’s mission to produce thought-provoking projects that challenge, inspire, and interpret the work of Asian American women artists.
Cheers to Muses was nominated for an Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in 2008.
Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and herself a contributor to the anthology, says: “Cheers to Muses has been a joy to use in my Asian American Studies classes! It offers students a beautifully illustrated introduction to the inspirational lives and artistic expression of Asian American women.”
ForeWord Magazine, in its review, states that Cheers to Muses “…provides a satisfying sampler of works by contemporary Asian American women artists, especially those of Northern California. It is engaging and attractive, perfect in format and scope for the coffee table and casual perusal. In concert, the pieces of this anthology testify to the truth of personal, artistic, cultural experience. Driven by the inspiration of a muse, they further widen the doorway of what is possible.”
Mark Johnson, Professor of Art and Director of Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University, predicts Cheers to Muses “is sure to become an important milestone in the future study of Asian American and women’s art of our time.”