On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the Asian Cultural Council hosted an evening of art and conversation for the Fifth and Sixth Generation Association of the Rockefeller Family. This intimate gathering – a “Next Gen” event for family members ages 18 to 40 – featured the work of renowned artist and 2011 ACC alumnus Enrico Isamu Oyama. Mr. Oyama spoke about his practice as an action painter, the influence of graffiti art in his work, and the impact of his ACC Fellowship.

In 2011, Mr. Oyama’s ACC Fellowship took him from Tokyo to the birthplace of graffiti, New York City. The experience allowed him to explore graffiti and street art within their cultural and historic context, as well as connect with artists and curators active in the contemporary scene. Participating in a residency program at PointB Worklodge in Brooklyn, he was given the space to pursue large-scale painting, which has come to be a definitive element of his current practice. The "Next Gen" guests were treated to a close-up view of Mr. Oyama’s large-scale, action painting. With spray paint and ink, brush and bubble wrap, his energetic strokes left their mark on the canvas, the wall, and Mr. Oyama himself.

Adam Growald, Wendy O’Neill, and Miho Walsh

The discussion that followed was an engaging Q & A between Mr. Oyama and his audience. In attendance were members of the Rockefeller family and ACC community, including: ACC Chairman Wendy O’Neill, her daughter Celena Wang, and nieces Rebecca Broderick and Phoebe O’Neill; son and grandson of former ACC Trustee Steven Rockefeller, Steven Rockefeller, Jr. and Steven Rockefeller, III; and ACC Trustee Carol Rattray.

Celena Wang with her mother, Wendy O’Neill, and Pheobe O’Neill

Both the Fifth and Sixth Generation Association President, Adam Growald, and ACC Executive Director Miho Walsh reflected on the importance of continuing John D. Rockefeller 3rd’s legacy of cultural exchange. Founded over 50 years ago, ACC remains committed to its mission of advancing international dialogue, understanding, and respect through cultural exchanges that nurture the talents of individual artists and scholars in Asia and the U.S. Invariably, what has grown out of these exchanges is an ever-expanding, global network of ACC alumni, grantees, and friends – a community of which Mr. Oyama and the “Next Gen” attendees are all a part of. “I was inspired to meet a group of such thoughtful leaders, passionate about the arts and cultural exchange,” Ms. Walsh remarked, “JDR 3rd was a visionary funder, and the continued involvement of the Rockefeller family is vital to carrying forth his important mission.” To learn more about the Asian Cultural Council, please visit asianculturalcouncil.org.