Portraiture, Identity, and Pandemic: A Zoom Studio Visit Between Susu and Yi Cao

International Chinese Fine Arts Council

Yi Cao, independent curator and Director of Curatorial Administration for Arts of Asia at the Art Institute of Chicago, interviews artist Su Su in her studio in Pittsburgh, PA, about her recent nomination by The Bennett Prize and her ongoing painting practice in our "Portraiture, Identity, and Pandemic" Zoom Live.


Over the past year, Su Su's idiomatic scene paintings - evocative of American pop culture in an urban surrealistic setting - pivoted in preference for exploratory self-portraits.This artistic shift was borne of her newfound quarantine isolation and her evolving experience as a Chinese immigrant in America amid the backdrop of mounting xenophobic hatred against Asians/Asian Americans. In her recent artistic voyage, in search of a sense of belonging and reconciliation between the Chinese indigenous culture in which her race, ethnicity, and body dwelt and the Western perceptions, she grapples with the iconic motifs of the Chinese dragon, the totem animal of her Manchu family clan.


A Carnegie Mellon University MFA graduate, Susu has shown at Chautauqua Institution of Art, NY (2019), The Andy Warhol Museum 25th anniversary exhibition (2019), The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2020), The Momentary Museum (2020), The Carnegie Museum of Art (2020). Her work is in the collection of The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.