Althea Rao

Photo credit: © Kaylie Nguyen, AP/I Domestic Project Resource Project, 2019

Althea Rao

Interdisciplinary artist Mengxi “Althea” Rao creates social engagement models to facilitate open and playful conversations around topics that are traditionally associated with shame and negativity, such as inherited privilege, mental illness, gender and sexuality. Her works empower individuals and help them find reconciliation with their cultures and selves. “Humans exist in the physical realm but my art does not.” Mediums Rao has explored include, but are not restricted to: film and video, multimedia installation, live performance, light sculpture, public space activation, rituals, dance, and choir singing.

Rao has lived and worked in China, Japan and the US, and received training in journalism and filmmaking. She was a Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow in 2016, and most recently a mentee in NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, a toolmaker-in-residence at Signal Culture (Owego, NY), and a Social Impact Fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab (Washington DC). Her work on gender equity was featured during By the People Festival in 2019. During her time in the nation’s capital, she has set up multi-iterations of public space activations at the Goethe Institut, Corcoran School of Arts, Smithsonian Freer|Sackler Gallery, The French Embassy, and Hirshhorn Museum.