Katharine Nie


Class of: 2023

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Acrylic paint, embroidery, collage and mixed media on canvas and wood board.

Faculty: Sophia Mak

Prompt: Based on a concept borrowed from André Aciman’s essay “Shadow Cities”, the idea of this project was to create a visual work that combines a meaningful place in New York City with one from your past. By applying research, personal connections to both locations and integrating an element of collage, you will make a place transformed, or “shadow city” that only you are able to see because of your personal history, movement and perspective.

This piece is a visual representation of my emotions towards my two chosen locations: Westside Market in New York and Budapest Park in Toronto, Canada. The three paintings symbolize how my emotions towards Budapest Park mirror how I feel towards Westside Market in New York; how the shadow city of the Zoitas family and many others in the lower East side help create my own shadow city in New York, and how “Maria’s Homemade” meals bring back the happy “family-made” memories I have at Budapest Park. The external decorations of the paintings are references to the qualities of Budapest Park that I most vividly remember from my childhood, and are meant to evoke a lighthearted mood – the rope is similar to that of the rope jungle gyms at the playground, and the dinosaurs on the second painting are a hint towards the large dinosaur statues in the park that captivated me as a child. When looked at more closely, the viewer will see that within the childlike decorations, there are feelings of nostalgia and longing for a similar place to call home in New York.