First Gen by Ian Racoma
July 11 – August 17, 2018
Winchester Cultural Center Gallery
3130 McLeod Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89121
(Facility hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
Opening Reception July 27, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Artist Workshop Saturday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m.
For more information, call Clark County Public Art, (702) 455-8685
“First Gen” is a show that celebrates the children of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants. Most of these kids grow up in a household with parents that actively maintain their traditions, while cultural entropy simultaneously seeps into their lives, said Artist Ian Racoma. “My focus is not interested in pity for the loss of cultural roots, but rather the inspiring new form it takes in a multicultural environment.”
“My experience growing up is similar to how most First generation kids experience life,” he said. “We grouped together with our own ethnic-kind and others that were “close enough” to our heritage— many of my friends were a mix of Asian and South Pacific origin. Looking back at these friendships, I wondered why we were drawn together and the answer was simple: safety and familiarity. On top of having zero cultural representation in the media, we also had to deal with how the ‘real’ American kids would tease the ‘odd’ differences in the way we acted, down to the ‘weird’ food we’d bring to school. Grouping together with other children like myself made sense. We had our own language, inside jokes, and we understood each other.”
As these “First Gen” children become assimilated into American culture, they pollinate their more inclusive social circles with pieces of their heritage—swapping various traditions, food, and ideals. By this point, most First-generation Americans develop stronger bonds with the same individuals they First had tensions with versus people from their motherland. This show is a visualization of some the experiences in a First generation’s life, from childhood to young adulthood. Looking at it through rose-tinted glasses… with a few scratches on the lenses.
Racoma is a First-generation, Filipino-American artist born in Manhattan who was raised in Las Vegas. Although his main focus is oil painting he is verbose in other mediums such as watercolor, graphite, and digital art. Racoma’s main interest is in examining faces and human figures. He recently shifted his focus to consider his subjects socio-economic background to express his upbringing as a First generation American while trying to find balance between the “Old World” and the “New World.” For Ian, connecting these world are within his work.
The Winchester Cultural Center Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information call Public Art at (702) 455-8685.