Joanna Tam: American Studies, 2019

November 15, 2019

CAPS is pleased to present the work of Joanna Tam in a solo exhibition, American Studies, 2019. On view are works from Tam's Athletes Study (An Imported Edition), a series of photographs from 2013 wherein Tam mimicks the facial expressions and gestures of foreign born professional athletes as they stand for the U.S. national anthem before their games. She asks, what does this common practice mean to those non-Americans? A series of four letters, Dear Mr. President, presents the letters she wrote to and received from President Obama upon becoming a U.S. citizen in 2016. One additional letter, to President Trump, remains blank, and unsent. A site-specific installation, Oath of Allegiance, is the result of Tam writing the oath of allegiance that new citizens are asked to take during their swearing in ceremony, directly on the wall in graphite, over and over, in a ritual of dedication and perservence.

Joanna Tam is a Hong Kong-born, Boston-based visual artist and educator. Using video, photography, performance, text and installation, her works examine the issues of migration, citizenship, standardization, construction of national identity as well as the notion of home. Tam's works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her projects were awarded the Best Art Film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK (2012), the People’s Choice Award and the Third Prize at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris (2009). Tam has been the artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Boston Children’s Museum and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She co-founded and co-operated the exhibition and studio space Howard Art Project from 2011 - 2015. Tam has taught undergraduate courses at the Wellesley College and Emerson College, and is currently a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a part-time lecturer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She holds an MFA degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

This exhibition was curated by Laura Donaldson. It is the latest in an on-going series of exhibitions showcasing artists who's work reflect and spark conversations around American politics. On view on the 4th floor of the CGIS Kanfel Building, 1737 Cambridge St., this exhibition is free and open to the public during the buildings open hours (M - F, 8am - 8pm)* hours may vary during holidays. Sponsored by the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS).

Joanna Tam photograph from Athlete Studies series