Ms. Connolly has selected contemporary artists Cai Zebin (Guangdong Province, Mainland China), Leelee Chan (Hong Kong), Pixy Liao (Brooklyn, New York), Curtis Talwst Santiago (Munich, Germany), Orkideh Torabi (Chicago, Illinois) and Adrian Wong (Chicago, Illinois).
I immediately gravitated to themes of ‘love,’ ‘equality,’ and ‘new beginnings’ when Art x Puzzles invited me to curate a special collection of ‘Puzzles with Purpose.’ In addition to February’s importance as Black History month and the host of Valentine’s Day, February is also the beginning of a new lunar calendar in the Chinese cosmological tradition (also known as Chinese New Year). Families typically celebrate by gathering together to feast and relax, although 2021 is not a typical year for in-person festivities.
I selected six artists with diverse creative practices and backgrounds to highlight the universal importance of self-care and self-love as tools to help heal our collective spirits and to look towards the future. I worked with each artist remotely as we have all been doing since the pandemic started. Self-care and comfort have become even more essential during the quarantine. Each work in this capsule collection alludes to self-care and comfort during a time when so many around the world are suffering.
Although we cannot gather in ‘real time’ to celebrate the start of a new year, we can stay connected virtually by exercising our minds and our hands as we puzzle together. I hope that puzzlers find joy, inspiration, and inner peace as they join the separate pieces to become a whole.
I would like to thank the artists Cai Zebin, Leelee Chan, Pixy Liao, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and Adrian Wong for joining me on this journey. I also extend a special thanks to Art x Puzzles for giving us the opportunity to stay connected and hopeful as we collaborate on these special projects.
Megan Connolly is a contemporary art advisor, curator, and lecturer who has spent the past 20 years living and working between Asia and the USA. Her professional focus includes global contemporary art, emerging art markets, client strategy, art advisory, and specially designed events and curated art experiences. Born in New York City to parents with a passion for art and culture, Megan’s love for contemporary art began at home. With a degree from Smith College in East Asian Studies and Art History, she relocated to Beijing in 2002 to immerse herself in Chinese contemporary art. She later graduated from The Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center with a concentration in International Relations. In 2008, Megan established ChART Contemporary with the mission of bringing together art and people. Although initially established in China, ChART is actively involved with diverse art projects around the world.
For the last two decades Megan’s specialty has been discovering underrepresented artists and introducing them to private and corporate clients. From auction houses to art fairs, and from non-profit cultural institutions to corporate and private collections, Megan’s expertise and focus on innovative client-driven strategies aims to build cultural confidence through art appreciation, storytelling, and cultural exchange. She speaks fluent Mandarin and she currently divides her time between Austin, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.