On March 15 street artist Lydia Emily had her first solo exhibition, “Behind the Bamboo Curtain,” at LAB ART. Renowned for her politically charged paintings, Lydia chose instead to shed light on the ongoing atrocities occurring in Tibet by the hands of the Chinese government.
The evening began with a Buddhist blessing from a Tibetan monk and Sri Lankan monk. However, the focus of the show was not religion but on humanity. The title of the show, “Behind the Bamboo Curtain,” is a reference to the block of information concerning Tibet from China. To convey her message Lydia uses Sunday New York Times on canvas with oil paint on top. Spread around the front of the gallery was a series of oil paintings of monks engaged in a range of activities. From praying to long boarding.
Instead of painting the horrific treatment the Tibetans are forced to endure, she chooses to divulge just enough information to make people curious and encourage them to find out the facts for themselves. Her work has the ability to engage an audience and make them interested without forcing the message down their throats.
One of her most striking pieces is a lone, unarmed monk wrapped in a robe facing a line of camo dressed men holding body shields. The painting perfectly highlights the violent assault on Tibetans matched by their peaceful response. The show featured several impressive large scale paintings as well. A large portrait of the Dalai Lama bowing while being shackled to a ball and chain tagged with MADE IN CHINA. The painting exemplifies Lydia’s way of pointing out injustices and combining it with humor. Her ability to call out society and politicians while adding common sense and fusing it with her impeccable talent as a fine artist sets Lydia a part from the rest.
Following the show, Lydia, Daniel Lahoda from LA Freewalls, and Birdman will embark on a trip to San Francisco to continue the projection project they started in Downtown LA last week in collaboration with the non-profit organization KarmaBlast.
Afterwards, Lydia plans to continue to expose the plight of the Tibetans. As the daughter of a civil rights activist, Lydia lives by one simple motto, “once you know something, you can’t not know it.” Meaning, once you know of an injustice it is your responsibility to do something. Her dedication to sticking up for people’s rights is inspiring and makes you reexamine your own choices.
“Behind the Bamboo Curtain” will be on display at LAB ART until April 14.
– Review by Keisha Raines with Photos by Birdman
For more on Lydia Emily visit: http://lydiaemily.com/
Visit LAB ART at: http://www.labartgallery.com/