MIYA ANDO: A WOMAN OF STEEL
Not quite Superwoman, but
every bit a woman of steel,
artist Miya Ando is best
known for her metalwork in the
form of anodized aluminium that is
hand-dyed to achieve beautiful end
results; work that is industrial and
ephemeral at the same time.
The choice of working with metal as
canvas was not by accident. Miya,
who is of Russian and Japanese
ancestry, and is currently based
in Brooklyn, was for a part of her
childhood raised by Buddhist
priests in a temple in Japan. Her
ancestors were swordsmiths before
becoming Buddhist priests.
“Initially my interest in metals was
influenced by my family history;
as an adult I’ve chosen to work
with metals for their ability to
reflect light and convey my artistic
expressions,” she explained.
We asked Miya to define beauty and
she only had four Japanese words
for us: “Wa, ke, sei, jyaku (harmony,
respect, purity, tranquility)”. The
four qualities are reflected in her
work. There truly is beauty in
But let not the abstraction of her
work fool you; there’s nothing
simple about the process behind it.
We are told categorically that it is
“laborious and repetitive” but that
“it is something of a ritual” that “is
meditative and calming” for Miya.
She typically works in layers and
applies a layer a day, sometimes for
months per piece. Depending on her
task at hand, her music of choice
ranges from Led Zeppelin to Israel
Vibration, UA, Chemical Brothers or
Boards of Canada.
Her hard work does pay off. In
January this year, Miya held a solo
show at the Sundaram Tagore
Gallery in Hong Kong titled Light
Metal, which garnered critical
acclaim. Even brands such as Bang
& Olufsen and Element have taken
notice and have engaged her to
collaborate on exclusive speakers
and skateboards respectively.
Metal aside, Miya has been dabbling
in making works on paper with
some monotypes she has created.
It shouldn’t surprise since, as she
reminds us, she has worked with
a range of mediums from metal,
to wood, to paper and even leaves.
What next? “It’s a blank page as to
the future work,” she said.
All images: the Artist
42 First published in Straatosphere Vol. 1 (July 2014); For more information, visit www.straatosphere.com
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