“To fly we have to have resistance.” -Maya Lin
For this year’s Night of the Notables, my chosen eminent person is Maya Lin. She is an architect, designer, and artist. Maya Lin is an inspiration to me because I hope to become an architect like her someday, designing memorable structures. Her hard work and perseverance through university help her achieve national recognition. At a young age of 21, she was chosen to design what is now known as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Her passion for art is able to bring her to her full potential. All of Maya Lin’s pieces are based on a feeling, a vision. There are actually quite a lot of things that I share in common with Maya Lin, whether it being our passions or upbringing. She is Chinese-American, and I am Chinese-Canadian. There are many similarities in the style of our upbringing, as her parents are quite strict with academic studies and have high expectations for her, just like my parents do for me. I am interested in art and design; the emotions every piece of artwork portrays vary. I greatly enjoy the unique “vibes” that are given from modern designs. I have also made a chart that includes an overall outlook on our similarities:
Maya Lin Kailey Huang
English as first language English as first language
Libra (Sun Sign) Libra (Sun Sign)
Has older sibling Has older sibling
I think that Maya Lin and I share similar qualities, all of which related to the fine arts. She is an artist, and definitely has an eye for design. Despite the fact that I am not professionally trained in fine arts yet, I still believe that I have an intrinsic talent within the arts category. Also, Maya Lin possesses a great talent for creativity and self-expression, typical of many accomplished writers, poets, actors, and musicians. I aspire to emulate these qualities.
Personally, my goals in TALONS run along the lines of learning to be in the moment. More specifically, learning how to truly feel your surroundings, and be a part of it. There is a certain emotion that is difficult to explain in words. Maya Lin’s goal, in general, is to let people have a different way of looking at their surroundings. She says that’s “art to [her]”. In her spare time, she goes outdoors to enjoy nature and be in tune with the environment. I admire that hobby of hers. To be completely honest, I have not thought about my speech outline that thoroughly yet. There are not too many barriers I have connecting to my eminent person. Other than the fact that she did not “realize” her ethnic identity or make it part of her image, there is not much else that is considered a barrier.
In the architectural design field, it is honestly very difficult to become recognized, unless you are exceptionally good at your job. Most of the time, you would actually need to join competitions or a variety of platforms to get your work noticed. Going to an amazing university and doing well in your studies definitely won’t cut it. Just like many other careers, you must step out of your comfort zone to be successful.
I believe that Maya Lin will most likely be remembered for the next 50 years. Again, this is just my assumption. She is not necessarily eminent enough to be a name that is remembered through many generations. However, the nice thing about being an architect is that your work will remain forever, or at least for a long period of time. Maya Lin did indeed leave a ‘ding’ in the universe. The architectural universe. Doing public art and architecture is challenging, even under the best of circumstances. For example, doing a work of architecture about the Vietnam War while the controversy was so fresh made the task much more difficult. Managing these challenges as a young Chinese-American woman with no established firm or power base behind her seemed impossible. However, her design inspired interaction between viewers and the memorial. It made no political statement but commemorated the sacrifice and heroism of every service person.
Maya Lin is worth remembering because of her dedication. Something that will stick with me is the fact that she is truthful to herself and wants others to be as well. Another important point that I find worthy to teach others about is expressing yourself. When used positively, Maya Lin’s talent for self-expression can be a great inspiration force in the world, uplifting others, and bringing much success and happiness to herself and those around her.
“The role of art in society differs for every artist.” -Maya Lin