May 2, 2022

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! MCA Denver Staff Shares Their Influential Artists & Creators

Tai Bickham


May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! It is a time to honor and recognize the contributions and achievements made by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country. 

In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked our staff to share artists/creators who have impacted their lives or who have made an influence on arts and culture in contemporary society.

Rachel Grammes - Marketing & Content Coordinator 

Ana Roxanne - Musician  

Profile photo of the artist and musician, Ana Roxanne, for her 2019 EP “~~~“.
Cover Art for the EP ~~~, 2019.

Ana Roxanne is a musician I have loved for years. When I listen to her music, I feel as though time simultaneously stops and expands—her work feels like a meditation or a prayer. She combines ambient sounds with dream pop elements with electric experimentation to create a transcendent sonic experience. Her songs and lyrics examine gender and identity in such a perceptive and profoundly beautiful way.

I first fell in love with her debut EP "~~~" because of the subtle textures woven throughout and the contemplative ambiance. At first, the album was background noise, but upon listening closer you can find layers of nuance and detail: like ocean waves, poetic verses, and other natural elements. Arguably, my favorite song on the album is, I'm Every Sparkly Woman, which pulls direct lyrics and inspiration from Whitney Houston's, I'm Every Woman.

Lacey Manuel - Shop Manager & Buyer 

Jennie Jieun Lee - Artist | Sculptor  

photo of the artist, Jennie Jieun Lee
Photo courtesy of

One of my favorite studio classes I took in college was my hand-building ceramics class. The medium is so difficult to work with and requires great attention to detail -- which I often lacked. I always thought that instead of trying to manipulate clay into an object that looked perfect, smooth, and symmetrical, I would instead embrace the imperfections of the medium. In researching ceramicists that also worked like this, I found the amazing Jennie Jieun Lee. She challenges the conventions of ceramic sculpture by embracing the fragility and vulnerability of the material. Lee also uses a painterly approach to glaze, making each piece look like an 'intentionally accidental' abstract work. The gestural hand is seen in both the form and the color. These sculptures are so beautiful and they symbolize the freedom and exploration of art-making -- which I think is the best part of any art.

Tai Bickham - Marketing & Community Specialist

Daniella Zalcman - Photographer | Founder & Executive Director of Women Photograph 

photo of photographer and Women Photograph Founder, Daniella Zalcman
Photo courtesy of

Daniella Zalcman is a notable photojournalist based in New Orleans, LA. Her lens often focuses on the legacies of western colonization, from the rise of homophobia in East Africa to the forced assimilation education of Indigenous children in North America. Her work can often be found in publications like National Geographic. I am sharing a project that Zalcman founded in 2017, Women Photograph, whose mission is to “shift the makeup of the photojournalism community…” and “ believe that inclusion and equity work must be fully intersectional, and are committed to supporting and highlighting photographers across the spectrum of all identities.” Read the full mission statement here

I follow the organization on Instagram, and along with being able to experience the work and amazing storytelling of international artists in photography, it is great to see an organization by an artist of color that brings visibility, inclusivity, and accessibility to women and non-binaries of color to a craft that can be very white male-centric. 

Cyrena Rosati - Gallery Attendant 

Susie Ibarra - Musician 

Photo of Susie Ibarra by Tony Cenicola
Susie Ibarra photographed by Tony Cenicola. 

Susie Ibarra is a Filipino-American avant-garde percussionist who blends genres like jazz, classical, or electronic with traditional Filipino musical styles. She has some really interesting albums, including Flower of Sulphur, 2018, with YoshimiO from the Boredoms/OOIOO, and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, also known as Lichens.