|Yang Yi and AAAC Staff|
|Artist Yang Yi with local firemen|
|Ben Hom, firefighter who donated a talisman he found in the debris of 9/11|
Yi’s pentaptych took five years to complete, gives tribute to the brave members of the FDNY and paramedics, featuring all 343 faces of the first responders who were killed at the World Trade Center 15 years ago. Yi’s work has struck a chord with the firefighters who have previewed it, and the Asian American Arts Centre welcomes the opportunity to share his work with all New Yorkers, visitors to the city, and to the Asian American community.
About the Artist Yang Yi, 59, came to the United States from China in 1995 where he soon made a living drawing portraits in Central Park. Following the 9/11 terror attacks, many people would show Yang Yi photos of their loved ones who had lost their lives, asking him to create a portrait. In 2010, Yi saw a mural on the side of the Flushing firehouse that inspired him to paint a tribute of his own. Working out of his small apartment in Flushing, Queens, Yi took five years to create the five canvases presented. A portrait artist by trade, Yang had to care for his family while taking time off from his usual work to create a tableau of events and symbol’s from the city’s difficult days. Images of debris-covered survivors, the American flag flying above the wreckage, along with moving portraits of every individual face.
The exhibition is expected to travel later this year to Sumei Arts Center’s firehouse in Newark, NJ. Updates on all future events will be posted on AAAC’s social media outlets, including a link to a Kickstarter for this commemorative project.