3S Artspace Presents: Them, at the Gallery at 3S Artspace Featuring the work of Sammy Chong - Press ReleaseAugust 08, 2018
3S Artspace Presents:
Them, at the Gallery at 3S Artspace
Featuring the work of Sammy Chong
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., August 8, 2018 — 3S Artspace announces the upcoming exhibit at the Gallery at 3S Artspace: Them, featuring the paintings of Sammy Chong. The Artist’s Opening Reception will be held Friday, September 28 from 5-8pm and is free and open to the public. The artist will be in attendance and will hold a brief Artist’s Talk at 7pm. Them will be on exhibit through October 27.
The works featured in Them shine a bright light on cultural diversity and the topic of otherness, making visible those who are often invisible. Sammy Chong’s vibrant paintings push past stereotypes, honoring workers in their humble activities, while at the same time displaying the pride and culture they can offer society. Sammy’s work is largely objective, but the works in Them began as a personal exploration of family and background as an Ecuadorian of Chinese descent.
“In terms of process, the first piece of Them happened to be a self-portrait. At that time I was not planning to develop a body of work in any particular style; however, I was very satisfied with the outcome, particularly in how I gained a better appreciation of who I am in this country,” explained Sammy. “From there, curiosity and desire led me to get interested in the reality of other immigrants; I wanted to go beyond myself and depict ‘who they are’ in a creative and positive way.”
“The review committee for the Gallery at 3S agreed this exhibit aligns with our pursuit to be a place for community to converge and grow together,” said Beth Falconer, Executive Director at 3S Artspace. “Them is an essential exhibit in this year’s Gallery season and we’re thrilled to share Sammy Chong’s culturally rich works with the Seacoast and beyond.”
As inspiration for his paintings, Sammy researched and gathered feedback on traditions and folklore from people of a range of ethnicities and social class, widening the focus beyond immigrants. “It was a deeply enriching experience for me to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people I had never interacted with,” Sammy said.
He found the theme of “prosperity” came up repeatedly across his interviews. “They’re trying to make a good life, especially for their offspring, for whom they want a better future,” Sammy reflected. “They endure lots of hardships in a society that deems them invisible, while hoping their children will not have to follow the same path.”
Tapping into surreal aesthetics, Sammy’s paintings feature spiritual and mythological entities taking human form in the bodies of hard-working individuals. Their heads represent powerful cultural symbols. Underneath each painting is a layered collage of photo vignettes demonstrating cultural richness, and sources of pride, such as folk traditions, patriotic festivities, religious ceremonies, landmarks, and traditional dress. Sammy said he hopes visitors to the exhibit will spend time with the background collages and follow visual narratives embedded in each.
“The signs of hate floating around presently are so out of control. We need to be aware of what is going on,” Sammy said. “Through Them, I want to create the desire to reach out, to engage. The only way to become unafraid of others is to get to know one another.”
Them Exhibition Dates: September 28 - October 27Them Opening Artists Reception: Friday, September 28 from 5-8pm with an Artist’s Talk at 7pmContact:Beth Falconer, Executive Director(603) 766-3330