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What have you learned about yourself through your career in the arts?

Lily working with residents in the Rugerero Survivors Village, Rwanda on a mural for the local elementary school

I learned that I am a peculiar kind of artist. I don’t have a big studio and I don’t so much show my work in galleries. But rather I create my work on the walls and in the streets of some of the world’s most challenged and traumatized places. More often than not, I co-create with people living in the places where I create art. Their artistic sensitivity, stories, experiences, and their physical participation shape the outcome of the public work we create together. At the end, these public art pieces all belong to the communities where people participated.


I learned that abandoned places are my canvases; people’s stories form a part of my palette. People’s talent and imagination become the tools in my collaborative creative art-making process, through which healing and transformation take place.

-Lily Yeh

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