Since 2008, Ma Ly has been making a name for himself as an artist in Fresno. With galleries first at Broadway Studios and now the M Street Arts Complex, the self-taught artist Ly has focused both on his painting technique – portraits and narratives in a realistic style – and teaching, including at his galleries and at the Fresno Adult School.
His painting “Deliver Us” is a good example of his style.
“I started this painting while I was going through complex challenges in my personal life,” he says. “What started as a mere depiction of the timeless fight between the good and the evil, based on Christianity, eventually became a symbolic projection of my psyche and own struggles as I decided to portray myself near the completion.”
Ly is one of seven people honored with a 2016 Horizon Award from the Fresno Arts Council. Given in established categories, the awards honor people who have made significant contributions to the local arts scene. Recipients will be recognized Thursday, Aug. 25, at a public ceremony and reception.
Along with Ly, winners are as follows, with descriptions provided by the Fresno Arts Council:
Business: Great American Car Wash. Owner AJ Rassamni invested in a large scale art mural at his business’s Blackstone Avenue location. The mural, titled “Killed in Action,” depicts events of 9/11 and honors those who died that day and in the conflicts following. The mural features Central Valley soldiers, as a tribute to them and their families, for their ultimate sacrifice.
Educator: Paulette Fleming (posthumous). A professor of art and design at Fresno State. Fleming was known for her work with youth, dedication to multicultural issues and commitment to justice. She won awards and recognitions as an art educator and mentor, executive director of the Partners-in-Art youth program and was working on a youth mural project at Lafayette Park Community Center when she died in 2015.
Citizen: Murray and Francine Farber. They are arts patrons who have donated more than $100,000 to Fresno Unified School District to fund student art programs and projects. Their support has allowed hundreds of students to learn about live theater performance and production.
Special recognition: Jackie Ryle. An art enthusiast known for her attendance to almost every art and cultural event held in the Fresno area. She is a business consultant who helps others direct their energy to be more effective professionals and individuals. She sets the example through her own involvement with the Cultural Arts Rotary Club of Fresno and with more than 50 public and nonprofit organizations in the area.
Youth: Adam Band. A talented musician on saxophone and a recent Bullard High School graduate. Band has performed with ensembles, including the California All-State Jazz Band, and has just returned from Japan playing for the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Orchestra. He will attend the University of the Pacific majoring in Business with a concentration in Music and Arts Management.
Ly, as the recipient in the artist category, has a powerful story to tell. Born in Laos, he relocated after the Vietnam War to France, where he lived for 32 years before moving to Fresno.
His recurrent theme, he says, is a realm of contrast, including youth and old, good and evil, war and peace, light and darkness, life and death, etc.
Ly’s paintings have been displayed in several local art shows and venues, including Fresno City Hall, the Fresno Water Tower, Chris Sorensen Studio, Clovis Veterans Memorial District, and the Big Fresno Fair.
He is artistic director of The Art of Life project that pairs cancer survivors and local artists in the creative process, and in 2014, he and Jackie Cabraloff created the monthly event Second Saturday Downtown Fresno.
- 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25
- Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. 1st St.
- 559-237-9734; http://bit.ly/2bwGuZf