My work explores the intricate push and pull between heritage, identity, and the complex dynamics of acceptance and rejection, belonging and estrangement, and the emotions associated with fitting in or standing out within the tapestry of cultures and communities. At its heart lies a deep examination of the Filipino American experience, a rich and multifaceted narrative that resonates with individuals navigating the complex terrain of cultural integration.
My creative process mirrors the synthesis of cultures and the negotiation of identities. Much like the communities that embrace or challenge us, I draw from both the tactile textures of my Filipino heritage and the contemporary patterns of American life. Art, like cultural identity, is a perpetual negotiation, weaving between the past and the present, an evolving dialogue between tradition and innovation.
Through the language of textiles and the visual storytelling of mixed media, I seek to express the nuanced stories of those who find themselves caught between cultures. My work explores the tension between the yearning to feel connected with one's heritage and the struggle to adapt and thrive within a disparate environment. It delves into the paradox of belonging, the pain of rejection, the desire to fit in, and the courage to be authentic.
Each artwork is a visual essay, a thread in the larger tapestry of the Filipino diaspora and the broader human experience. By juxtaposing indigenous materials such as piña fabric, sinamay, and capiz shells with sewing patterns and other items that symbolize adaptation and assimilation, I aim to create pieces that resonate with the universal challenge of navigating one’s sense of identity, acceptance, and community.
My art invites the viewer to explore the ever-shifting boundaries of culture and the profound impact of acceptance and rejection on one's sense of self. It is a reminder that while cultural clashes may challenge our identity and belonging, they also give rise to new forms of expression, resilience, and empowerment. Through my work, I hope to inspire dialogues about the intricate weavings of heritage, the complexities of identity and self-determination, and the enduring power of cultural narratives in shaping our lives and our sense of belonging within a diverse and evolving world.
Rowena Federico Finn is a Filipino-American award-winning visual artist whose works have been shown in regional, statewide, and national juried exhibitions. She had the honor and pleasure of teaching young aspiring artists at the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk for over six years, and has worked closely with regional art organizations and institutions including the Chrysler Museum of Art, giving hands-on workshops related to several major exhibitions including Watercolor: An American Medium and M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations. A passionate and outspoken activist for the rights and needs of underrepresented communities, Rowena served on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board (Vice Chair, Chair of the Education Committee), The Virginia Art Education Association’s DEIA Committee, and the Virginia Beach City Public School’s Equity Council. She currently serves on the WHRO Community Advisory Board. Rowena resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three infinitely interesting and inspiring kids.
EXHIBITIONS & JURIED SHOWS (Selection)
2023 Still, Art Fluent Gallery, Boston, MA, Online Exhibition
2023 Creative Expressions, Sandler Center, Virginia Beach, VA
2022 Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, Virginia Beach, VA
2022 Small Works, Charles H. Taylor, Hampton, VA
2022 Artists Who Teach, Charles H. Taylor, Hampton VA
2022 Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Artists Magazine
2022 Spring Colors, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Spring Members Show, Virginia Beach, VA
2022 Flourish: National Juried Exhibition Featuring Botanical and Floral Artworks, D'Art Center, Norfolk, VA
2021 Best of the East Coast, Gallery 311, Raleigh, NC
2021 Leaves & Petals, Fusion Art International Online Juried Exhibition
2021 Questions, Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize 2021, Online Exhibition, Juror Prize
2021 Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA
2021 Practice What You Teach, Virginia Art Education Association Conference, Virginia Beach, VA
2021 Awash in Color, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Fall Members Show, Norfolk, VA
2021 Virginia Watercolor Society Members Show, Art & Cultural Center, Portsmouth, VA
2020 Garden of Life, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2020 Artists Who Teach, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA
2019 Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Fall Members Show, Norfolk, VA
2019 Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA
2019 Governor's School for the Arts Faculty Show, Origins Gallery, Norfolk, VA
2018 Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA
2022 "Sisters" - Artists Who Teach Exhibition, Second Place
2022 "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Finalist
2022 "Sisters" - Spring Colors Exhibition, Best in Show
2022 "Sisters" - Spring Colors Exhibition, Members' Choice
2022 NAEA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) Scholarship, National Art Education Association
2021 "Lifeline" - Questions Exhibition, Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize, Juror Prize
2021 "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - CBW Fall Members Show, Second Place
2021 "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - VWS Members Show, Honorable Mention
2020 "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - Garden of Life Exhibition, Best in Show
2020 Southern Atelier Portrait Drawing Workshop Scholarship
2019 "Apple Blossoms" - CBW Fall Members Show, Honorable Mention
2017 "The Graceful Envelope" Honorable Mention
2008 "Pattern Pieces" - Free Spirit Exhibition, Award of Merit
2006 "Poppin' Poppies" - Best of Virginia Artists Publication, Honorable Mention