Asian American Arts Alliance

Ka-Man Tse
  • Female
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • United States
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Profile Information

Visual Arts, Film & Video
In your own words, what is your ethnic identity? (for individuals)
Your Artistic Background/Mission
I was trained as a photographer. I received my BA in photography from Bard College, and my
MFA from the Yale School of Art.

Visibility and representation are driving forces in my image making. Diversity and multiculturalism have always been at the very core of my personal life, my professional work, and my art. I was born in Hong Kong, and we emigrated to the U.S. when I was small child. I grew up in a small industrial city in upstate New York, where my parents found work in Chinese restaurants. As a 1.5-generation immigrant, I have always negotiated multiple—and often opposing—cultures, values and vantage points. I remember being explicitly told by my parents that I couldn’t be an artist, that I should pursue mathematics or computers. As women, as immigrants, as people of color, as queers, we are taught by our society and sometimes even our elders to not take up space, to not “rock the boat.” I am still unlearning these lessons. I still catch myself apologizing.

This tension, this give and take continues to influence the way I think and work as an artist. My practice is rooted in negotiating moments both public and private, for the individual and a larger community, from both the observed and imagined, staged and spontaneous.

My images are a proposition of a possibility, of a moment of intimacy. Mixing queer narratives, personal memories and cultural obsessions, play, storytelling and portraiture, I recast all of these elements in order to recast the world: we too, can exist, as visible, as potent.
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