NYIT student Shanshan Chen's thesis project Opera League.

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M.F.A. Students Showcase Their Thesis Projects at Annual Exhibit

May 17, 2019

Pictured: Shanshan Chen brought together traditional Chinese opera costumes and American super heroes for her thesis, Opera League.

Twenty-two students finally saw all of their hard work pay off on May 9. Students earning their M.F.A. in animation, fine arts and technology, or graphic design attended the opening of their show Fused: M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, featuring everything from online haunted houses to animated Chinese mythology. 

The road to finishing their theses has been long and hard for the students exhibiting the work. Christine Kerigan, coordinator for Digital Art and Design, said “During this M.F.A. process the students endure a lot of hard and stressful hurdles to get to this point. … To get to be at their thesis exhibition and help them through this final step is very exciting.”

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Fine arts and technology major Shu Zhu animated the story of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, endeavoring to illustrate the cyclical nature of life. She also created an interactive butterfly projection to engage the audience. “Interactive art is very interesting to me because I can play with my audience; the audience completes my work”, she said.

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Shu Zhu, right, explains her project to an attendee at the Fused: M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition.

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Weiyang Jiang, a student receiving his M.F.A. in fine arts and technology, has lived and studied in Beijing, London, and New York. Inspired by his experiences in big cities, he created a series of videos and LED light designs about city life. He says: “I feel like my life has changed a lot between China and New York, but there’s still a lot in common. In most big cities, people’s lives are mostly the same.”

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Weiyang Jang stands in front of his thesis project.

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Shanshan Chen, a graphic design major, brought her experience working at the opera in China into her thesis work. “I want to do some cultural exchange between America and China. I think opera needs to be promoted more to our generation,” she said about her project, Opera League, a reimagining of American super heroes in the style of Chinese opera costumes.

The exhibition is on display at NYIT-Manhattan in the 11th Floor Auditorium at 16 W. 61st Street through May 24.

View a complete listing of projects.