URBANA — The Asian American Cultural Center is showing work by Jessica Lee Rojas in the solo exhibition "Child of the World."
It features paintings and photography by Rojas, a University of Illinois senior majoring in painting. As an artist, she explores "ideas of the other, the weird, the foreign and the outsider."
Her father came from Puerto Rico, and her mom is from Taiwan.
"I am biracial, torn between two incredibly different cultural heritages," Rojas states. "This body of work examines ideas of globalization and perception of race. I am interested in how too often Asian-Americans face Orientalism and feelings of displacement.
"'Child of the World' is a body of work that explores essentialism — the concept of shared characteristics among a group of people that are necessary to making that group what it is. In other words, what qualities are essential? Which are accidental? Which are due to social parameters?"
Rojas won a first-place award at the Deerfield Art Festival, has shown her work at Figure One and the Wings Gallery, has received numerous academic scholarships and has published illustrations in textbooks such as "Abecedarium Latinum" by Peter Sipes.
In addition, she has taught painting and illustration classes at Kaleidoscope School of Art. The Asian American Cultural Center will host the "Child of the World" exhibit through Jan. 28. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the center, 1210 W. Nevada St., U.