The Art of Cindy Nu Chai
Dartmouth medical student Cindy Nu Chai says that art has "always been a part of my life and a reaction to everything I encountered." But it wasn't until high school that she was "encouraged by an excellent art teacher to pursue more formal art training." She ended up double-majoring in art and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley. And even through medical school, she has continued to find refuge from the stress of her classwork and clinical rotations in her art.
She also enjoys talking about art—at least in general. She says she's found particular inspiration in the works of Gustav Klimt, a Viennese painter prominent in the late-1900s Art Nouveau movement, and Edgar Degas, a French Impressionist famous for his paintings of ballet dancers.
Chai has also served since 2007 on the editorial board of Lifelines, Dartmouth Medical School's student-run literary journal, and she is the journal's current editor-in-chief. One of her works was selected for inclusion in the 2007 issue of the journal. (For more about the journal, visit the Lifelines webpage. The 2007 issue, featuring Chai's work, is not available online, however.)
But Chai prefers not to talk about the particulars of her own work. "People tend to want the artist to explain what each of their works is about, but art is a form of expression different from language, and most of the time the artist himself/herself can't put his/her artwork entirely into words. When you think about it, that's the reason why a lot of us draw, paint, or sculpt. If we were able to express those ideas and feelings with words, we would have written an essay or a poem.
"That's the value of art," she concludes, "to express things that you can't articulate. I want people to experience my artwork instead of receiving an explaination of my artwork."
A charcoal drawing by Chai was featured in Dartmouth Medicine's Art of Medicine section. And here is a chance to experience some more of Chai's art, in a variety of mediums and styles.
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