The Kennedy Center

Xi Nan


Baltimore, Maryland
Second Award: $6,000
Age: 24
"I have learned to be strong and perseverant in the journey of making my art works; no risk, no miracle."
A native of China, Xi Nan began to explore studio art, particularly ceramics, as a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. In the initial learning process of art-making, Nan watched with frustration as her first batches of ceramics would crack, melt down, and not survive the firing. This paralleled her frustration as a child and the many years of physical therapy she underwent as a result of the disability in both her legs and right hand. Recalling her father's tireless encouragement and hope, Nan reimagined her frustration into perseverance to improve and refine her artistic skills.
Nan has spent the past few years experimenting with making her ceramics as thin and translucent as possible in order to reveal the inherent beauty of a bowl's or vase's body. Her delicate works are molded in a glass-like porcelain clay, a personal recipe formulated by Nan. She is inspired by the elements of water and fire, which are required in the ceramic process, and Nan is "amazed by [the elements] uncontrollability to make my pieces natural, organic and personal."
Nan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College, Iowa, and has recently completed a summer ceramics program at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Xi Nan