May Sun was born in Shanghai, raised in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, and arrived
in California at the age of 16 to attend the University of San Diego, where she was an Art major.
She completed her degree at UCLA and later attended the MFA program at Otis Art Institute.
She was a faculty member at Cal Arts and Otis College of Art and Design, and has been a
visiting faculty member at many other universities and art colleges throughout the country.
Sun’s earliest works combined her aesthetic interests through room-scaled installations and
multi-media performances. In Los Angeles, she collaborated with important directors and
composers in expressing ideas that had narrative and visual presence utilizing sound, music,
light, movement and sculptures. She gave a political direction to her early elliptical, multi-media
installations commenting on the plight of Chinese railroad workers and agricultural laborers in
California, offering incidents and poetic images to create metaphors of the past to showcase their
relationship to contemporary life. The installations were presented at the Santa Monica Museum
of Art in Santa Monica, Capp Street Project in San Francisco, the Newport Harbor Art Museum
in Newport Beach, and the List Visual Arts Center at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She has exhibited internationally and her large scale multi-media installation UnderGround is in
the permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Her awards include two NEA fellowships, a Getty Fellowship for the Visual Arts, a Silver Award
from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (for the MOCA produced radio version of L.A./
River/China/Town), a Vesta Award from the Woman’s Building and a Honor Award (for Robert
Kennedy Inspiration Park) from the Westside Urban Forum in Los Angeles.
Beginning in 1990, Sun has spent two decades creating permanent installations for public and
civic spaces throughout the United States, including the terrazzo floor for the security checkpoint
area of the San Antonio International Airport that was completed in 2004. She titled it Walking
the River. Other public art commissions include the Robert Kennedy Inspiration Park at the site
of the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Union Station Gateway Center in downtown
Los Angeles, the Hollywood and Western Red Line Subway Station in Hollywood, Culver City’s
City Hall, and a public plaza for Boston’s Chinatown (part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway).
For more information about May Sun, visit her studio website.