Since 2010 I have abandoned my old habits of working in the manner of the art traditions and had begun to approach art from an entirely different perspective, meaning choosing my mediums away from the norms and taking chances and most of all to experiment. Brooklyn’s condo booms had suited me and I hunted for discarded metals and worthy ‘garbages’ from construction sites and their dumpsters for working materials. Then in 2014 and in a great irony - a real estate developer had bought seven lots next to the building that I have been living for 35 years to build a12story condo.
Through out life I have always had the good fortune of living in hospitable geographic regions. There were no extreme contradictions that needed to be dealt with. New challenges presented themselves internally as aspirations to reinvent myself through art. Life was life and art was integral to its existence.
2014 had marked the end of this harmony of art and life. The constructions next door had created contradictions that impacted on life and art. The art created under the circumstances, however, had revitalized life and had made living tolerable. I was referring to the chaotic constructions happening just 3 feet away outside my windows.
The Developer practiced the most uncooperative strategies towards its neighbors. When my concerns were ignored by the Developer I enlisted the support of the legal system. I found myself becoming involved in the politics and legal matters with lawyers and engineers and judges. Along the way I saw the justice system in a different light -just like anything else it operated like a business and justice played a second fiddle.
Apart from dealing with lawyers and engineers during the day, I was able to roam the demolition/construction site after the workers had left for the day. My building has a peculiar situation with an Easement on the Developer’s properties that I could walk right into the construction site by opening my back door. With every step among rubbles, I found all sorts of objects and materials left behind from the demolitions. I carried this "junk" into my basement where it slowly got transformed, piece by piece, into a new life, into a new purpose. Perhaps the objects were at the same time transforming me. Perhaps these objects had, in fact, found me and were begging to be reborn.
With each art piece that I have completed it represents a chapter in a diary, a personal account that reflects the plight of displaced locals, a lost neighborhood and the emotional impact dealing with constructions 3 feet away from my building. The artwork also mirrors my journey as the condo construction had led me through, from the savoring of the precious sunlight that I had in my apt/studio, to the closing off of natural light which had plunged my living space into tomb like darkness, and the unforeseen future that was to come. However, a triumphant force radiates from these once-discarded-dumpster-heading objects. Perhaps the power in art has the capacity to overcome any human folly.
Art has always been, for me, a visual experimentation where the process of making is a fearless journey unto the unknown. The satisfactions come by discoveries, surprises and taking chances. As if learning a new language the artist uses ideas, colors, sounds, visuals to arrange phrases and sentences to create communications and poetry.
A short Bio
Self taught artist. Executive Director of the Asian American Women Artists Alliance since 1998 - retired since 2010. For12 years Kong was responsible for grant writings, curatorial arrangements of various aspects of group exhibitions for women artists. Visit www.aawaa.org
Exhibitions of work at Steinbaum Kruss Gallery, Phoenix Gallery, AIR Gallery, The Puffin Room, The Municipal Building Art Gallery, Ceres Gallery and the Chinese American Arts Council Gallery.
Executed various art workshops for the local community, public libraries, elementary schools and senior centers.
Received grants from the Ford Foundations/BAC ( 2 times), Department of Cultural Affairs (9 times), Brooklyn Arts Council (8 times), Manhattan Cultural Council ( 2 times), JPMorgan Chase/BAC, The Independence Community Foundations, the David Swartz Foundation, and supports from various private funding resources.