The 2017 Stamps Alumni Juried Exhibition / by Bianca Ng

A few months after I launched my project on Instagram, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response I received from friends, family, peers, and strangers. I thought to myself, "Well that was fun and exhausting." And then I took a monthlong break from all social media to travel to China with my family. 

When I returned, I received an email from my alma mater, The University of Michigan, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, about submitting to the group Alumni exhibition. I was hesitant. A secret, that's not so secret, 90% of creative people suffer from imposter syndrome. I regularly analyze my imposter syndrome with my therapist. But among the participants from my project was my boss from my previous job. I asked her if I should submit my project to the group show theme of ambiguities. She responded, "Of course! Being a woman is a minefield of ambiguities," I scrambled together an artist statement and hit send. 

I forgot about the submission. A month later I got a notification: "Congratulations! The 2017 Alumni Exhibition juror, Brian Kennedy, President, Director, and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art has selected your submission for inclusion in the 2017 exhibition “Ambiguities/ Innuendos. Go Fish.” I was both shocked and excited. A project I created, out of a small idea I had, was accepted into a group exhibition.

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This seemingly small feat made two points clear to me 1. The only times I've received any recognition was for my passion projects. The first time it happened, I called it supernatural. The second time it happened, I called it luck. The third time is the charm. This acceptance gave me the confidence to believe in my capabilities in creating something authentic and meaningful. 2. "Being a woman is a minefield of ambiguities." Unknowingly, this conversation with my old boss was the seeds of the next theme for take up space 2018.