Chinese American artist reflects on purpose of public art
A towering feature lies at the Westchester Landing entrance to the Cuomo Bridge Path in Tarrytown.
It's called "Current," and Cheryl Wong created it.
"It's a sculpture that's made out of 12 steel arches and dichroic glass embedded lighting," said Wong, artist and architect. "The reason why it's called 'Current' is because it references the eb and flow of the river currents, of currents of light, currents of time and really invites us to share this space together."
The public art was commissioned by ArtsWestchester and the New York State Thruway Authority.
Wong said the structure celebrates transformation and contains steel from the old Tappan Zee Bridge.
"I think that part of this project is built on the legacy of the old bridge, of connections of old with the new," she said.
News 12 spoke to Wong as News 12 celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Wong is Chinese American. Her parents emigrated from Hong Kong and Macao in the '70s.
She said she's come to recognize the feelings of being excluded and discriminated against in a new light during the pandemic as an Asian American.
It's an experience that plays a role in the art she creates.
"I think in a way, being a person of color has always shaped my practice and the way I think about spaces that can be more equitable and that can be inclusive," Wong said.
Most recently, she created artwork for public spaces in Chinatowns.
In fact, Wong lives in Manhattan's Chinatown with her husband and 2-year-old daughter.
"I think it's really important for us to remember our stories as a community but also to remember the bittersweet history upon which many communities of color especially Chinatowns have been founded," she said.
She values diversity and hopes her artwork can help bring together people of different backgrounds.
"So, I do think it's important to have public artworks and elements of culture in our public spaces so we can share this experience together and even transcend what would be a normal experience," Wong said.