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Waave Grand Opening Exhibition-D'Est: Unveiling Diversity

Editor: Katherine Chong, Trista Zhong

Image Credits: courtesy of Waave Foundation

New York, NY – January 11th, 2024 – Waave is thrilled to unveil its inaugural exhibition, D’Est, at the Foundation’s Upper East Side gallery. Extending the legacy of women-led salons in this region and exemplifying the Foundation’s mission of forwarding gender equality through art, D’Est curator Irene Ailin Wang, the founder of Waave Foundation, and assistant curator Qingyuan Deng drew together artists Cecil Howell, Traci Johnson, claudia yeejae kim, Megan Nugroho, Zahra Nazari, and Jingyi Wang into one exciting sphere. Their multimedia and cross-cultural works channel nature, locale, and vulnerability to complicate and complement the discourse on identity, self-image, liminality, and more. Many collectors, professionals, artists, students, and supporters of Waave were present at the reception to hear from showing artists and partake in panel discussions on gender representation in the art world. D’Est kicked off the Waave Foundation’s commitment to advancing inclusion and grass-roots organizing by featuring a diverse, nuanced collection and fostering a budding community.

Image Credits: courtesy of Waave Foundation

Creatures of this kind, 24” x 18”, Pastel on Paper.

Cecil Howell inquires into the intimate, liminal, and intangible qualities of natural landscapes with earthy mediums like pastel. Her exhibited piece, Creatures of this kind, suspends defined tendrils in looming blurriness like how works of this series seek to “make room” for questions instead of answering them.

“You can never suffer, the source of all joy goes wherever you go,” 6.8ft x 5.4 ft, 2023, yarn, cloth.

Traci Johnson unites mental health and emotive states with the vibrancy of fashion subcultures. Her textile paintings—including the one selected for D’Est, “You can never suffer, the source of all joy goes wherever you go”—wields a medley of organic patterns to compile figures superimposed and sprawling on top of one another.

Left: happy pull-down 2023, (heads) rubber, cement, and eyelet, 6"x 7.5"x 8"

(pull-down structure) square sign post, steel, bolts, aerosol paint 4'x 3"x 8'.

Interdisciplinary artist claudia yeejae kim works in performance, sculpture, video, and installation to scrutinize and expose the absurdity of beauty standards. Her work happy workout station and sculpture happy pull-down beckon viewers to reenact efforts that address vulnerabilities in their appearances.

Green Limbs, Artist Book, colored pencils on scroll, handmade box, 2022.

Born and raised in Jakarta, artist Megan Nugroho conjures “spiritual vegetal forms” with colored pencil to probe human overlap and connections with nature. On a long scroll draped over the floor, the showing artwork Green Limbs depict a network of dense roots resembling the human immune system across the length of criss-crossed legs.

Left: The Observer’s Eye, 60 x 50 in., 2016, acrylic on linen.

Right: The City of the Future, 36 x 36 in., 2021, acrylic on canvas.

Drawing from a fusion of Persian art and western futurism, Zahra Nazari invents dynamic—bordering surreal—architectural collages that capture multicultural terrains. Rather than witnessing structures as static or permanent, Nazari’s paintings The Observer’s Eye and The City of the Future splices together splintering geometric forms into diverse but cohesive landscapes.

Left: Sharon’s Afternoon Tea, 52 x 48 in., oil on canvas

Right: Pick  a Cloud for you, 50 x 41 in., oil on linen

Artist Jingyi Wang sets forth the significance and distinguishing features of cacti—resiliency and sensitivity—as a metaphor for individuals. Juxtaposing the spiky plant with elements like the fluffiness of clouds and the smooth polished texture of skin, Wang explores curated dynamics between humans and nature.

Image Credits: courtesy of Waave Foundation

Finally, Waave is honored to invite closing speaker Judge Wendy Li to touch on her experiences as an Asian American woman serving on the Civil Court of NYC. Judge Li is currently a candidate for the Surrogate’s Court Judge in the County of Queens; if elected, she will set a new precedent as the first Asian American Female in the entire State of New York. Judge Li is also a critical member of organizations like the National Association of Women Judges and the Asian American Judges Association of New York. As a trailblazing figure forging new paths for fellow women, Judge Li spoke to Waave’s mission of advancing gender equality. 

Waave Foundation's Mission 

Our mission, deeply rooted in the fourth-wave feminism movement, is to facilitate and drive the transformation toward equality. Waave Foundation is more than an organization; it's a movement where art meets activism, tradition meets innovation, and silenced voices are heard and celebrated. This exhibition aligns perfectly with our mission, highlighting the resilience and empowerment of women during a pivotal moment in history.

For more information about the exhibition or to collaborate with Waave, please contact and Trista Zhong at



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