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Belle Yang National Steinbeck Center Exhibit


When you look up Belle Yang in her Red Room (dot-com) website, this is what you read under her name, “adult nonfiction, graphic novel, children’s picture book >Author. But one word that seems to be missing is “Painter.” As Belle simply states in her PBS documentary "When I'm writing, I'm a writer; when I'm painting, I'm a painter." Yes she is, indeed.

As an art exhibition curator, when I opened and read Belle Yang’s books, I walked into a museum gallery each time. On every page, I examined the art and studied her written words like labels on a gallery wall. And while immersed, there have been many times when I turn a page and look up as if to see her work in front of me. Well done Belle!

As an admirer, I have had the pleasure of seeing Belle Yang’s original artwork framed and exhibited in many galleries; watercolors, drawings and paintings that she creates for her many brilliant books. But most interesting is that many times I have heard and seen her viewers, from children to adults, react to her work, as if they are or want to be part of her evocative stories. Children will act out scenes from her books where Belle has drawn herself flying over communist China with large wings or where Mei-Mei and Di-Di call out to their beloved pet doves to please return to them, when set free. I have heard adult conversations about personal familial woes when Belle has written about her father's recollections. This is what led me to Belle’s work and to seek out her permission to create an exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center about her work and how others would become creatively engaged, if invited.

We are welcoming guest curator, CSUMB Visual & Public Art Professor, Lila Staples who has joined me along with VPA Professor Angelica Muro and her Spring 2012 digital art students to conceptually design a three dimensional “viewer-participation gallery,” based on Belle Yang’s artistic books and characters. The gallery will showcase Belle’s original works, (some never before seen and a demonstration of her father’s work). Her characters will come to life though projected and digital images, a children’s reading interactive area (where Belle will read from during her exhibition—dates TBA on NSC website), kinetic art, and much more.

Deborah Silguero, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the National Steinbeck Center

Belle's Latest Blogs

Aug.03.2012 - 1:05 pm
Belle Yang flying
"I got the cliched shivers when I saw my paintings and my father's work, leaning against the wall where John Steinbeck's huge black and white image looked down upon them."--Belle...
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Jun.02.2012 - 8:43 pm
I post this the photojournal by X every anniversary.   This year, 2012, My father hungers all the more for the voices of dissent via New Tang Dynasty Televison online,...
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May.14.2012 - 3:02 pm
When my last adult nonfiction came out to great reviews, try as WW Norton my publisher might, we could not land a review in the coveted NYTimes.  So when my humble bilingual...
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May.03.2012 - 4:19 pm
I've mistakenly posted this in a blog.  So be it.  It was a curiously painstaking process of working on a Mandarin reader for English speakers.  My editor, who is...
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Comments from Belle

Mar.25.2013 - 12:45 pm
In response to: Death of a seagull
Dear Steve, It's good to be reminded of the story and I must reread it again.  I was astonished to learn that...
Jun.15.2012 - 8:15 am
In response to: Tiananmen Massacre 23rd Year Hence: A Photojournal by X
To forget would be even a greater crime, Susan.  Twenty-three years have passed, a new generation that has never...
Dec.26.2011 - 10:16 am
In response to: Forget Sorrow: A Graphic Memoir
http://redroom.com/member/belle-yang/blog/steinbeck-ching-chong-chinaman Lovely to hear from you in China.  Your...
Nov.19.2011 - 4:59 pm
In response to: Artist Heal Thyself
Great to hear from you in Alaska.  I am at the Miami Book Festival.  No polar bears.  Alligators.
Nov.06.2011 - 9:30 pm
In response to: Artist Heal Thyself
Nice image of you kicking around pebbles or listening to the wooshing of the waves as they suck the sand out.  The...

Published Reviews

A Nest in Springtime Jacket
Published by Kirkus Reviews
Chinese Lessons in Board Books by Julie Danielson on May 25, 2012 | Posted in Children's   I don’t write often enough about board books for the youngest of...