The hot and humid Minnesota summer of 2010 was the most productive time in my life: I was making my first tile mosaic mural while I was carrying my baby in my belly. Looking back, I feel lucky that I could have spent the last three months of my pregnancy in the art room of Edison High. I am also grateful for Mosaic on a Stick where I learn how to make mosaic art and met amazing mosaic artists.
Shook Shook is my second mural project at Edison High School. For the first project I led a group of art students to create an acrylic mural, which we titled Released. (Scroll down to see read more about it.) Throughout the project I was touched by dedication and creativity of the students I was working with. I especially enjoyed working in a community as ethnically diverse as Edison High. Seeing girls wearing hijab and long skirts in fusion style and being boisterous surprised me; they had a different vibe from the older muslin women I see in Seward. Hmong girls that I worked with were outspoken and proactive. This also did not fall into typical Asian women stereotype that I had, despite the fact that I am from California. Overall I felt that the positive energy exuding from Edison came from the students who went changing and growing together to be creative individuals.
When I received a grant from Minnesota State Arts Board to create a tile mosaic mural at Edison High School, I wanted to reflect the unusually exciting vibe that I felt from the students. “Shook Shook” is an onomatopoeia I made up. To me, it is the sound of Minnesota summer dance. Summer gardens for Minneapolis reminds me of the students at Edison High School: different origins, yet growing together. Minnesota sun is generous and soil is fertile. Gardeners don’t fail here. Maybe that is my wish for us immigrants as well.