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China: A Source of Inspiration and Identity for Joy Brown

Joy Brown is a sculptor who lives in Connecticut, but her experiences in China and Japan have shaped her artistic journey. She is the subject of The Art of Joy Brown, a documentary exploring her life and work. In this post, I want to share some images that connect Joy to China, both as a place of legacy and collaboration.


The photos from Legacy, a biography by Joy's uncle that chronicles the family's history in China. We hope these images give you a glimpse of the rich and complex background that informs Joy's art.



Joy's grandparents were missionaries who met and married in China in the early 20th century. They lived there for several decades, witnessing the tumultuous events of war and revolution that transformed the country. Joy's father was born and raised in China and learned to speak Mandarin fluently. He also developed a deep appreciation for Chinese culture and art, which he passed on to Joy.


China: A Source of Inspiration and Identity for Joy Brown


One of Joy's influences as a sculptor is Shige Morioka, a Japanese potter who taught her the anagama technique of wood-firing pottery and sculpture. We visited Morioka and his kiln in Japan in March. Among Joy's current projects is a series of large bronze sculptures cast in Shanghai. We plan to travel there this fall to meet the people who work with her and see how they bring her vision to life. These sculptures are part of Joy's ongoing exploration of form and emotion, and they reflect her connection to China as a source of inspiration and identity.



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