Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi
Graduate Student

Group: Department of Art Practice

Web site:

Personal statement

  Â Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi's work is focused around our relationships toward body image, and how that relationship relates to disability.  Her sculptures, drawings, and interactive projects gently provoke participants to consider our fragilities, differences and vulnerabilities as human beings, as well as our strengths and autonomies.

Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi and her work is intimately tied to Disability Art and the activism that sattelites it.  Her earlier undergraduate sculpture consisted of works of wearable art custom fit to her own body.  Her tough and menacing horned platform shoes, and felted wristlets, with hard, claw-like projections function as a sort of non-verbal "what are you looking at" reclamation of a disability that perhaps has more to do with visual differences than it does with physical limitations.

Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi's recent work possesses what appears to be a softer, more nurturing quality, yet effectively and boldly state her message about disability and the other.  In one installation Sandie Yi places white cotton gloves against a white wall.  Every glove has been altered to have a different number of digitations, and the participant is encouraged to choose and wear different gloves. By interacting with the piece, the participant is provoked toward an attitude of sharing a collective experience, and relating to fellow humans.  Her custom-fit onesies, designed for specific infants with limb deficiencies, are a practical and inventive answer to crudely mass-produced one-size-fits-all garments.

As a disability activist, Sandie Yi is concerned with the broadest range of possibilities for a participant's interaction with art, and the importance of the role the senses and faculties play in experiencing it.  By engaging the participant with work that is neither purely visual, purely auditory, or audio-visual, her work becomes truly inclusive, and therefore challenges what we take for granted to be "visual" arts.
Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi was born and raised in Taiwan and received her BFA and MA in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Before beginning her graduate studies at UC Berkeley she has been living and working in Taiwan as an artist and art therapist.  Recent awards include the DeBatz Fellowship (University of California, Berkeley, 2009), the Wanderer Project Artist Grant Recipient (Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, 2007), and the Disability Arts and Culture Honor (The Disability Pride Parade Planning Committee, Chicago, 2006).  Recent exhibitions include a solo show at EXTRAART Gallery (Prague, 2006) and a solo show at Gallery 902, (Evanston, IL, 2006).

(Text by Narangkar Glover, MFA class of 2011)