Month: December 2016

Lessons from the life and work of Iris Chang

Iris Chang’s life was many things to me. Even before I read her books, she was this wonderful figure among Asian-Americans. I remember seeing her face on the cover of Reader’s Digest in the Nineties and knowing and being proud of this rare instance of an Asian face being so prominent, and respected. I remember the excerpt of her book, “The Rape of Nanking,” in Newsweek and how much weight that carried. I also remember the feeling when news broke of her committing suicide in 2004, when she was just 36 years old: Horror. It felt like there was a dark void in what happened. What was it that drove her to suicide? That question has been probed many times in articles and books written by those close to her. This essay is not going to delve into that, but will be a reflection on the lessons that Chang’s life and work still carry for our time. Chang’s books and her experiences have been on my mind these past few years for many reasons. First, …

Creative Durham series: Swimming in imagination

The imaginary world of Daphne Yap is a head-spinning swirl of creatures, geniuses and goddesses. Yap, an artist in the Golden Belt campus, has filled her studio with portraits of fantastical creatures of dynamic movement and intense meaning, peppered with moments of complete goofiness. One creation that has combined the two are her many, many drawings of jellyfish. Why jellyfish? “Well, I got these Gelly Roll pens and what glows in the dark? Jellyfish!” the 34-year-old artist exclaimed. Although Yap’s work often hints at a dark imagination, in person, she is cheerful, almost exuberant, and punctuates her speech with animated expressions that are much like the characters she used to draw as a concept artist for Hollywood. Yap, born in the U.S. to Chinese and Malaysian parents, grew up in San Jose, Calif., and studied toy design before working in the world of science fiction and fantasy blockbuster movies as a concept artist. From 2006 to 2012, she drew characters, costumes and sets for movies such as “Avatar,” “Thor,” “Alice in Wonderland” and J.J. Abrams’ …

Nature gallery

The glories of the season came alive at UNC’s Coker Arboretum on Thursday after an overcast and rainy week. The Persian Ironwood’s honey yellow leaves on its wide canopy caught the sunlight and glowed. On the ground, its leaves mingled with the golden leaves of a nearby Ginkgo. The Ginkgo also provided the perfect place to sit for Jorge Vallecillo, and other students also took advantage of the warm day to catch some sun. Also pictured: A Ginkgo made some golden tinsels for nearby building. The curve and flared out branches of a California Incense-Cedar and the leaves of a Trident Maple. Photos by Monica Chen