Alumna’s Art to Be Featured at Smithsonian

Posted: September 20, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Xang Ngoc Ho, BFA Art ’04, was awarded first prize and $10,000 in Shifting Gears, a competition for young artists with disabilities.

She and the other awardees in the competition will be honored at a Capitol Hill reception on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The touring exhibit will debut at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Ho was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and was diagnosed with polio when she was one year old. Her family moved to the United States when she was a young child, and Ho currently lives in Baltimore. She is completing her MFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

“Art became a tool that helped me make sense of myself and the purpose of my life in America,” she says.

Ho’s award-winning piece, Straw Men #1, was created for her senior show at Mason. It is a series of 12 black and white photographs that attempt to “find the self beneath the appearance.”

To heighten the emotive effects of her work, Ho manipulates the photographs in the darkroom. She uses photography to deal with a woman’s identity, including issues such as disability, and within her work she seeks to portray unspoken thoughts, forgotten dreams and memories.

“During this project, I was forced to look at my own body and see the beauty in it,” she says. “That was a point where my life shifted gears.”

For more information about the exhibit and Ho’s work, visit the Shifting Gears web site.

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