I take memories and experiences and materialize them into dioramas set in containers. Once I put them in the containers, they are no longer intangible; they are no longer thoughts, ideas, and memories that disappear or are forgotten. They remind me of who I am. They are safe and protected. These depictions of successes, failures and everything in between are met with acceptance and judgment is non-existent.
Irene Wibawa is an ethnic Chinese, born in Indonesia, and has lived in the US since 1983 when she was 8 years old. Her lifelong interest in art began in childhood, learning to draw with Pak Tino on TV and playing with Legos. Eventually she focused on responsible immigrant goals, such as becoming the 6th grade Spelling Bee Champion at Commonwealth Elementary School, receiving her B.S. in Plant Biology from UC Davis, and gaining employment and a retirement plan at USDA Agricultural Research Services conducting experiments with plants and insects since 2004.
In 2006, she returned to her interests in visual art starting with evening art classes at Berkeley City College. While visiting Open Studios in 2009, she met Cynthia Tom and learned about the Asian American Women Artist Association, through which she gratefully has had multiple opportunities to exhibit, including with InnerEye Arts through Pallavi Sharma despite her lack of interest in selling her work. When not working with plants and insects, or making art, she also trains for Butoh with OnenessButoh.