Cecilia W. Yu Interview – ‘Be Kind And Gentle To Yourself’
Spread the love

Cecilia W. Yu was selected as TheCelebrity.Online Magazine’s cover interview for our February 2024 Edition. Here you will get to know more about her.

Cecilia W Yu – It’s not widely known that I was born in Hong Kong

How do you introduce yourself?

I’m Cecilia W Yu, an internationally exhibited artist. Currently honoured as the Corporate Livewire Award Artist of the Year for Scotland 2023-2024. My artistic journey has taken me to diverse locations such as Edinburgh, Japan, England, Australia, San Francisco, New York, Austral-Asia, and Egypt. Beyond art, I serve as an ambassador for a civil society organization in special consultation with UN ECOSOC since 2017. Additionally, as a Civil Society Social Entrepreneur, I’m affiliated with a health organization linked to UN ECOSOC, UNEP, and WHO. In terms of scholarship, as of Jan 2024, I’ve been appointed as the Executive Director of the SDG Action Hub in Kenya, a sustainable development goals initiative founded by an IPCC Sustainability scientist in Oceanography, whose work co-won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, alongside former US Vice President Al Gore. This is not my first Nobel related work, I’ve consulted 4 other Nobel peace prize projects in the last decade plus and am part of the Nobel Prize Teachers Hub.

How was your transition from childhood to adulthood and what are the bad and good things you remember?

Growing up in Australia was a remarkable experience filled with a sense of rebellion and freedom that I genuinely cherished. I’ll forever be grateful to Australia for fostering a profound connection with authentic nature and instilling in me a deep respect for nature in all its facets, both positive and challenging. Even in a bustling city like Melbourne, the omnipresence of nature is undeniable.

On the downside, school life brought challenges, marked by pervasive bullying not limited to just one individual but affecting various groups. Additionally, there was a concerning prevalence of overt racism among different factions in Australia. However, amidst these difficulties, the silver lining was the multicultural environment in which we were all raised. Australia’s top-down efforts ensured that children were exposed to a rich microcosm of cultures, reflecting the values of the United Nations. This multicultural upbringing is something I value deeply. These experiences have significantly influenced my art, adding layers of depth and insight to my creative expressions.

What hardships Have you gone through in life?

I’ve grappled with the constant concern of losing my painting abilities due to a mild genetic condition affecting my spinal strength. This condition requires diligent attention to maintain my artistic skills. Regular activities such as swimming, resistance training, and yoga have been essential to ensure I can concentrate and sustain my painting capabilities. Despite the challenges, including pain, stress, and other conditions, I’ve learned to manage a balanced life effectively.

Fortunately, the national healthcare systems in Australia and other places I’ve lived have been crucial in providing necessary support. Even now, in Scotland and also within the EU, I am grateful for the excellent universal healthcare that enables me to continue painting professionally at the level I have reached.

What do people usually not know about you?

It’s not widely known that I was born in Hong Kong, holding British and Australian citizenship due to my family’s ties. Interestingly, if I chose, obtaining US citizenship wouldn’t be a challenge. This possibility stems from my great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather lives were intertwined with the history of San Francisco, where the former was a founding member of the Chinese society in San Francisco Chinatown during the post-gold Rush era. While this familial connection is not commonly known, my roots in San Francisco are very significant. Several branches of my family have US citizenship through this birthright. Despite the opportunity, I haven’t actively pursued it. Nevertheless, my family proudly holds US citizenships, a testament to our family’s founders connection with San Francisco and its rich history in the Chinese diaspora, with all the adventures that entailed, warts and all!

What sets you apart from your competitors in the industry? And in life?

Many individuals in the arts and creative industry tend to constantly compare themselves with others, viewing them as competitors. However, my perspective differs. Art has been an integral part of my life since the tender age of two, making it more than just an industry—it’s a lifestyle, a fundamental aspect of my being. Consequently, I refrain from actively tracking or emulating what others in the field are doing because, to me, they aren’t competitors. In the arts, the key lies in remaining genuinely truthful and authentic to one’s own journey. This approach sets me apart, as I believe attempting to benchmark oneself against others in the realm of creativity undermines the essence of art and creativity itself. I am not going to disguise the privileges I’ve had in being born into Hong Kong Cinematic tradition, just when its fusion with Hollywood, created legends in my own family, on the maternal grandmother side. But I would say: Life imitates Art. Not the other way around.

What are your upcoming major events?

Alright, let me consider this. I have plans to travel to Nairobi to delve into the research of Professor Okemwa. He has left handwritten notes in his office, in Mombasa, offering insights into his extensive work in oceanography and sustainable development of Trade for poverty alleviation without destroying the biodiversity of our planet. Since the Prof was a founding member of the IPCC; a group of scientists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, for me to find areas over convergence between my research and his endeavour is Major, for me! Concurrently, I am slated to address multiple schools and universities as part of a speaking tour related to the Nobel Prize Teachers program. However, these engagements are contingent on my recovery from a current injury. Managing both the continuation of my Sustainability and Culture research, on top of participating in sessions at the UN in Nairobi is a substantial task, especially considering Pan Africa’s elevation to G21 in the global economy. I am living in “very interesting times”, indeed.

What are your food preferences and physical attributes?

I’m not quite sure what is meant by “physical attributes.” However, I could certainly improve my aerobic fitness. Despite that, I am a certified yoga teacher, holding a senior yoga teacher qualification, and have practiced yoga since my teenage years. I make diligent efforts to navigate various challenges, maintaining both my inner and outer health. Yoga has proven incredibly beneficial in this regard. Additionally, I am currently undertaking an Ayurvedic course, assisting me in aligning my food preferences.

Primarily, my palate leans towards a subtle Asian-Australian fusion. Rather than opting for a sandwich, I find delight in seaweed nori rolls, a common street food in Australia, featuring avocado, salmon, and a hint of nori rice wrapped in seaweed. This has become a staple for me. I also enjoy dishes like poki bowls and a variety of Asian cuisines, with a recent fascination for Vietnamese food. However, I am also drawn to Middle Eastern cuisine. Having travelled extensively, I appreciate diverse Flavors, including Algerian dishes with Rasa Al Hanut spices, especially from Morroco.

Moreover, my yearly visits to Greece to reconnect with family involve indulging in a substantial amount of Greek cuisine. The Mediterranean diet is known for its health benefits, especially when minimizing carb intake. Overall, my culinary preferences reflect a multicultural and health-conscious approach to eating.

Your love life, relationships and family.

I don’t typically delve into my personal life, but I want to express immense gratitude to all those who have been the “loves of my life”. This includes individuals, whether we shared a romantic relationship or not, as well as my chosen family and blood relatives. They have gone above and beyond to accommodate the demands of my life as an artist, acknowledging the substantial time and energy creativity consumes. Many have generously “given me everything they had” to support me in realizing the visions and inspirations embedded in my art. I extend a heartfelt thank you to those who, perhaps transiently, enter and exit my life like art muses. These muses embody specific values and flaws that contribute to my work, art, and writing, enhancing my understanding despite my human limitations and flaws as an artist. You are always on my mind; even if the art tear us apart to different continents.

What expert advice would you like to give?

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve shared was with my art partner, Kel1st, an original New York Bronx graffiti wild style Grandmaster. His life has been a testament to the essence of the hip-hop nation’s journey. Following a tragic incident involving a talented artist at our arts event who faced personal turmoil due to an abusive partner and eventually took her own life, Kel1st and I felt compelled to offer guidance to the upcoming generations of genuinely talented individuals.

The advice we emphasized was to be kind and gentle to oneself, recognizing that the artistic journey requires time to mature, evolve, and withstand the test of time. It was crucial to instil patience and allow creative energy to unfold naturally, leading individuals to where they need to be. We encouraged them to trust in the lifelong companionship with their creative art energy—from birth to the last breath on Earth. This enduring partnership, we believe, means overcoming challenges and realizing the fullest potential of one’s artistic expression.

During the formative years, it’s common to doubt whether the artistic path aligns with one’s desires. However, we stressed the importance of trusting in this companionship, a force that persists through all stages of life. Both my art partner, Kel1st and I have encountered profound and challenging life lessons, and we express gratitude to the incredible divine forces that guide our art energy. Recognizing and embracing this force with gratitude holds significant importance in our shared artistic journey.

Your social media and handle.