Offsite Gallery December 2 – January 12, 2024
Save the date: January 6 for Finn’s Art Talk and Demo at our Offsite Gallery at MacArthur Center. Free and open to the public.

Foreign Bodies

Wikipedia defines a foreign body as “any object originating outside the body of an organism; in machinery, it can mean any unwanted intruding object.” As the daughter of immigrants who came to the United States before she was born, she has seen all her life how she’s perceived as a foreigner when she visits her “homeland” of the Philippines, and she has even been perceived as a foreigner here in America where she was born and raised.

By combining indigenous Filipino materials such as piña cloth, sinamay, and capiz shells with the paint and mixed media materials she’s used for decades, Finn explores her experiences as a Filipina-American, unearthing the generational scars of colonization and assimilation, and existing as a visual artist in a community that doesn’t always understand or value this work. The tactile nature of the materials enables both Finn and viewers to meditate on the intricate push and pull between heritage and identity, and the complex dynamics of acceptance and rejection within the tapestry of our cultures and communities. Her heavily textured works give a voice to the nuanced stories of those who find themselves caught between cultures and trying to make sense of both the need to belong and the need to be authentic.

Finn’s artwork invites the viewer to explore the ever-shifting boundaries of culture and the profound impact of acceptance and rejection on one’s sense of self. It is a reminder that while cultural clashes may challenge our identity and belonging, they also give rise to new forms of expression, resilience, and empowerment. Through her work, she hopes to inspire dialogues about the complex weavings of heritage, identity, and self-determination, and the enduring power of cultural narratives in shaping our lives and our sense of belonging within a diverse and evolving world.

Rowena Federico Finn is an award-winning artist whose works have been shown in regional, statewide, and national juried exhibitions for over thirty years. She has taught classes and workshops for various regional arts organizations for over a decade, including the Governor’s School for the Arts and the Chrysler Museum. Her artwork and activism are deeply entwined, and her volunteer work deeply informs the direction of her art and teaching. A passionate and dedicated activist for the rights and needs of underrepresented communities, she is a member of the WHRO Community Advisory Board, and has served on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, The Virginia Art Education Association’s DEIA Committee, and the VBCPS Equity Council. Rowena resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three creative and inspiring kids.

Enjoy this great interview by Norfolk Arts exhibiting artist 2019 Mensah Bey with Rowena Finn!

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