Cathy Lu showcases her new exhibit “Foreign Bodies”


Lu’s work is currently available to view in the Jacki Headley University art gallery.

Bay Area artist Cathy Lu spoke to Chico State students on Thursday about her new “Foreign Bodies” exhibition at the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery.

Lu gave a lecture about the exhibit and what it means to her culturally.

She explained how the exhibition explores her cultural identity, as someone of Chinese descent and as someone who grew up in a community of immigrants. 

Lu explained what growing up in Miami was like for her. 

“It was a really intercultural environment,” Lu said. “I think it was these intercultural experiences that really made me question this idea of culture, what’s American culture, what’s authentic culture.”

Much of her exhibit focuses on the relationship between food and culture. She spoke of how her parents would grow their own produce in their backyard and the relation between food and Chinese culture in the US.

Lu showed a few pictures of one of her pieces; still life fruits made out of ceramics that were made to look decomposed and slightly resemble bodily sores. 

“I was really inspired by the idea of (utopian) garden myths…like the Garden of Eden… and just thinking about the fabrication of those myths,” Lu said. “For the Jacki Headley gallery I wanted to speak to that construction, (and the) fabrication of this garden.”

Lu also said that many of her sculptures containing fruits are meant to represent the idea of living in an intercultural world and what that means in our society.

“I just love all of these little things mixing what we think is common place and normal with what we consider possibly exotic,” Lu said, “but then also realizing that all these fruits at one point were pretty much exotic, and how we value those differences.”

Another part of her exhibit focused on the juxtaposition between pricelessness and disposability and how that can be a metaphor for the way other cultures are treated in America.

“The way we value things is so interesting,” Lu said. “I think the way we (treat), especially immigrant groups in the United States, (for example), people love chinese food, but they might not love the immigrants that made it possible here, so it feels very arbitrary.”

Students and faculty are welcome to visit Cathy Lu’s exhibit: “Foreign Bodies” which is currently on display at the Jacki Headley Art Gallery located in the Arts and Humanities building until Saturday, March 14.


Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.