PULLMAN– The Forst Visiting Artist Series continues at Washington State University Monday, Feb. 5, with an opening reception for artist Ake Lianga. The reception will be held in Fine Arts Gallery II from 5:00–7:00 p.m. A public walkthrough of the exhibition with the artist is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 4:30–5:30 p.m.
Lianga’s work reflects his upbringing in the Solomon Islands and his experiences living for the last 10 years in British Columbia. His artwork explores, in bold colors and rhythmic lines, both the challenges and the joys of living in and between both cultures.
“Few people are aware of the extraordinarily vibrant and important contemporary art coming out of the Pacific,” said Carol Ivory, chair of the Department of Fine Arts at WSU. “Lianga looks both backwards and forwards, bringing mythology, history and the contemporary world together in riveting works of art.”
Lianga was awarded top honors in the 1995 South Pacific Contemporary Art Competition. In 1996 he secured a Commonwealth Arts and Crafts Award that enabled him to study at North Island College in Courtenay, B.C. He said he chose Canada because he was intrigued by all he heard about the country and he was seeking a unique artistic experience very different from his past.
Lianga’s artwork often engages with significant issues arising from post-colonial situations, creating works that can be described as both “visually appealing and emotionally powerful,” Ivory said. “Here at WSU we have student populations from across the Pacific who are dealing with these same issues on a daily basis, so to have this exhibit is significant on many levels,” said Ivory.
The Department of Fine Arts’ Visiting Artist Program is supported by the Florence and Edward Forst Endowment. The department also collaborates with academic units across the University and with groups such as the Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee to bring to campus a wide range of artists and scholars who are influencing the contemporary art scene.