AMERICAN DRAGON: A Story of an Asian American Woman Finding Her Way Home

April 10, 2021   /  

Name: Hannah Jun Langer
Major: English, Studio Art
Minor: History
Advisors: Thomas Prendergast and Cassidy Ely

AMERICAN DRAGON: A Story of an Asian American Woman Finding Her Way Home
Hannah Jun Langer, formerly known as Hong Dongjun

As an Asian American woman born in Anhui Province, China, and adopted into a white family I have a unique perspective that I explore through my artwork. Being adopted separated me from my roots as I was raised in a completely different culture; thus, it has become something within my adult life that I have desperately looked toward. Unlike other artists who define themselves as Asian American, I am looking backward at my Asian heritage, experienced largely second-hand through books, movies, and discussions.

Through this body of work, I fuse the cultures I was born into and the one I grew up in by deconstructing and reimagining blue and white ceramic wares. I am particularly interested in the Chinese history of porcelain created in the Ming period created for a European market and distributed throughout Europe as luxury goods. Like these I was formed in one place but have been distinctly influenced by Western customs and ideas. Even though I am Chinese it does not mean that I know all the heritage or follow all the stereotypes that people associate with being Chinese. Creating multiples explores the complexity of identity and describes different layers that people form within themselves as each piece does not perfectly mirror another one. I juxtapose symbols like the peony flower to represent my connection to my cultural heritage as it is the national flower of China, with textures that represent both corals and other ocean forms to connect with growing up in a coastal town. As we grow up, everyone struggles to find out more about their own identity; however, it is only through this struggle that we are able to truly grow.

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Hannah will be online to field comments on April 16:
2-4pm EDT (PST: 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

14 thoughts on “AMERICAN DRAGON: A Story of an Asian American Woman Finding Her Way Home”

  1. Why did you choose cats over any other animals? Is there a symbolic representation of them for you?

  2. Your art is wonderful. I particularly like the duality of the coral structures on your sculpture; how they evoke both the coral you intended and a bit of a (tongue-in-cheek) cake frosting decor as well. I don’t know if your art is for sale, but I would be very interested in purchasing one or more of the cats if it is.

  3. Absolutely beautiful artwork! What are you hoping to do after graduation? Will you continue to create artwork to inspire others?

  4. Hannah! Your work, the concept and just the whole thing blew me away. The quality of the ceramics tied in with your concept are incredible. I can see how the deeply personal concept has resulted in your beautiful ceramic pieces. I’m sad I won’t get to see them in person but you can feel your project through the screen.

  5. CONGRATS HANNAH! We’ve all witnessed your hard work and it has definitely paid off. I love that every cat looks different but they are cohesive as a series. Reading your work over the timelapse was really powerful too. Great job!

  6. This work is absolutely amazing. I love the way each cat looks, incredibly intricate and detailed.

  7. Great job Hannah. I love the variation on the textures while keeping similar ideas across the different cats. They look amazing.

  8. Hi Hannah–what beautiful pieces, and a similarly lyrical narrative in the chapter you shared! It’s so exciting to see this project and to recall the Paradise Lost vase as another example of your thoughtful engagement with narrative (and/in) art. I’d love to know more about the story of each cat, whether as design or personal narrative or both. Congratulations on a fantastic project!

  9. Hi Hannah,

    Really cool to see the final version of your project come together! Your title is so fitting and I’m glad you chose such a personal way of storytelling to describe this personal journey of your experience with (and at times between) both cultures.

    Congratz, and good luck in the future!

  10. Your work is lovely, and is complemented by the narrative you provide about it. Thank you for sharing your story and creating beautiful art.

  11. Hannah, It is so nice to see how all of your work has come together in your I.S. project. I really like the conceptual framework. Good luck with everything you take on in the future! Congratulations!

  12. I love the sculptures as well as the framing, very creative and thought provoking.
    I was curious about the designs on each of the cats. Was each one inspired by specific ceramic wares, or was the collection as a whole inspired by multiple different wares that were combined as you pleased?

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