Red, White and Blue, 1988, Watercolor on paper, 14 78 x 19 in.

Mills College Art Museum Collection, Gift of Michael S. Bell and Thomasin Grim in honor of George W. Neubert, 1988.15.5

Betty Kano is a Japanese American painter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is known for her work in Asian-American activism, including co-founding the Asian-American Women Artists Association in 1989. Her work explores the intersection between political consciousness and personal identity. In this piece, Kano evokes American patriotism using the colors red, white, and blue. The rainbow shape the colors form travels across the canvas and assume a smudged effect. The rainbow then disappears and fades into whiteness, disappearing from the canvas. It can then be assumed that Kano is critiquing the American dream, and the ways in which it allures its constituents, and then fails to live up to its promises. As an Asian-American activist, Kano may also be critiquing the effect of American imperialism on the diaspora of Asian Americans, such as herself.

Melika Sebihi