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ARTIST STATEMENT

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.
 

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ARTIST BIO

Rowena Federico Finn is a Filipino-America multi-disciplinary artist whose award-winning artwork is greatly influenced by her many years as a high-school art teacher and her volunteer work on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, the Virginia Art Education Association, and the WHRO Community Advisory Board. Craftsmanship, a deep understanding of materials and techniques, and in-depth research combine with a multitude of media, including her unique use of indigenous materials to create distinct, Filipina-Futurist artworks that bridge the gap between her Filipino heritage and American upbringing. Utilizing the "womanly arts" of sewing and crafts as her weapons of choice, her works are subtle and intimate, requiring the viewer to come closer, eliciting a desire to reach out and touch the art, only to realize what seemed soft is sharp, hard, jagged. Her sculptural pieces address themes of authenticity and belonging, and exploring the tenuous balance between honoring tradition and destroying harmful belief structures to build something completely new and honest for the generations that follow. Rowena resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three infinitely interesting and inspiring kids. 

image of an Asian woman with long black hair wearing a white button down shirt and blue jeans

photo courtesy of DCPG Photograpy

Foreign Bodies Opening Night 2023

photo courtesy of DCPG Photograpy

SOLO & INVITATIONAL EXHIBITIONS

2024     7000 Pieces of Me Solo Exhibition, Perspective Gallery, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2023     Foreign Bodies Solo Exhibition, Offsite Gallery, Norfolk, VA

2023     Atrium Artists in Residence, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA

JURIED EXHIBITIONS (Selection)

2024    Radius 250 Biennial, Artspace, Richmond, VA

2024    Made in VA Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Virginia Beach, VA

2023     Still, Art Fluent Gallery, Boston, MA, Online Exhibition

2023     Creative Expressions, Sandler Center, Virginia Beach, VA
2022     Artists Who Teach, Charles H. Taylor, Hampton VA

2022     Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Artists Magazine

2022     Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Spring Members Show, Virginia Beach, VA

2021     Best of the East Coast, Gallery 311, Raleigh, NC

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

2018     Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

sculpture made of capiz shells and oversized wooden spoon and fork

GRANTS, RESIDENCIES, & SCHOLARSHIPS

2024     Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, New York, NY

2024     Creative Residency, Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, Rabun Gap, GA

2024     Atrium Artists in Residence, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Arts, Virginia Beach, VA

2023     Artist Emergency Grant, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, NY

2023     Artist Professional Development Grant, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA

2022     NAEA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) Scholarship, National Art Education Association

2020     Southern Atelier Portrait Drawing Workshop Scholarship

ARTWORK AWARDS

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

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

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

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