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Ms Li was the first Chinese American pilot to fly for the US Army during WWII as a member of the Women's Army Service Pilots. She was trained as a fighter pilot but was denied a position because she was a woman. She applied in China since China was our ally during the war. There she was again denied for the same reason.


Stories in Sculpture and Painting

Cheryll Leo-Gwin works with a variety of materials that best express her message. For the past decade, she uses her work to create interest in the Chinese and Chinese American experience. From China's Cultural Revolution and the US Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882-1943, to the Civil Rights Act and current immigration concerns, the artist uses her art as a means to educate and inform her audience of the similarities and differences between cultures in times of revolution.

With extensive experience in research and development to find materials available for artists in industry, for several years she was a consultant to manufacturers to expand their product lines using the materials specific to their industries.  This experience has informed her artwork in choosing the materials that best support the statement in any given artwork. As a result, her work often crosses over the boundaries of traditional classifications.​

Marilyn and Mao - 2011

Acrylic on papier mâché and acrylic shadow -23"h x 18"w x 8"d


Golden Lilies are a metaphor for the bound foot. After the railroads were completed, the Chinese were burned out of their homes, murdered, and driven out of the United States with no protection under the rule of law.

Golden Lilies -2011

Acrylic on papier mâché -23"h x 18"w x 8"d

Around the world women, are synonymous with money and power. In most countries females are trafficked by land, sea, and air for sale to the highest bidder. 


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While the US enforced it's Chinese Exclusion Act, Canada had a twin act. A Chinese American citizen married to a Chinese Canadian citizen could not live together and families were kept apart.​

One Child Policy- 2011

Acrylic on papier mâché  -23"h x 18"w x 8"d

This is an ongoing series of multi-media works that present the oral histories that the artist has collected from the Chinese women in America and in China during the past several years. The narrative in the artwork reflects the effect of legislation, imprisonment, revolution, and culture on women and their families historically and today.

Hazel Ying Li - 2020

Acrylic, papier maché, found objects

30"h x 18"w x 18"d

China's One Child Policy has led to a shortage of women since a boy child was prized. In America, the US Chinese Exclusion Act of 1883-1943 (1965) led to large "bachelor societies" in US Chinatowns.

Twin Acts - 2011

Acrylic on papier mâché  -23"h x 18"w x 8"d