What makes a person very memorable? What serves as the basis for each person for them to leave a mark on this earth? For many, it has been their works and accomplishments. There is one lady who have left her mark in the world and her brilliance will always remain forever as long as her work stands strong. Maya Lin, an unforgettable designer and along with the Vietnam Wall, will forever remain as a piece of history.
LIFE OF MAYA LIN
Maya Lin was born to parents of Chinese descent in the city of Athens in Ohio during the year 1959. She grew up in a cultured and artistic home. Her artistic development came from her inspirational and influential parents. At Ohio University, her father, Henry Huan Lin was the college of fine arts dean while her mother, Julia Chang Lin worked as a literature professor. She was also considered as the niece of the said-to-be very first woman architect from China, namely Lin Huiyin. Even when small, she already had promising views about design. As a little kid, she already started creating sculptures and building small towns inside her bedroom. This was just the start of her idealistic views about design. As she grew older she became more interested in design and showed progress. Eventually she earned something that no other person could have ever achieved in the history of mankind. This came about when she was in college.
When in Yale University, at the age of 21 years old, she competed for the design of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. With over 1,400 entries, she won the coveted event and started off with her wonderful career. The feat of winning the design of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial made her a very notable designer and it cemented her as one of the best. Topping all 1,400 entries is a very inspiring achievement. She then harnessed her skills as a designer.
She trained as an artist and as an architect. Her works such as her sculptures, monuments, parks and architectural projects are all interconnected by her ideology of making a place for people form within a landscape. She pulls out her inspiration for her architecture and her sculpture from sources that are culturally diverse. Samples of these inspirations are the Hopewell Indian earthen mounds, Japanese gardens and other projects accomplished by earthworks artists of America during the 1970s and the 1960s. Maya Lin’s works are simply astonishing works of identity mixed with landscape and culture.
Her most famous work, is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commentary or more commonly known as the Vietnam Wall. This is the project that she won during a design competition in college. This work of art and design has been a very visited monument. Her work on this wall reflects the memories of the Vietnam war and the people who were part of it. She executed it with greatness and the flow of the design can be heartfelt and sensuous. Through this wall, she was able to connect the past to the current passers-by of the place. Her design was a work of brilliance with a touch of honesty and solemnity.
As Maya Lin describes it, as one descends through the path of the wall and reach a certain angle, one can realize that a single wing of the wall directs straight towards the white and tall Washington Monument which is about a mile away. The other one direct towards the Lincoln Memorial which can be witnessed through a row of trees that’s almost 600 feet away. She declares this location and design as a place where you can feel that you are alone with the wall and all the busy streets, leaving you with nothing but the peace presented by the wall. The names of the soldiers who were lost in the battle in Vietnam are greatly commemorated in the wall as their names are carved out well.
Maya Lin is one in a million. She is the only who holds the distinction of being able to design a monument about the memories and soldiers of the Vietnam War, and she nailed it.
“Identity: Maya Lin”. School Arts, April 2002: 101, 43.
“Maya Lin”. 24 July 2008.<http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/lin/index.html>.
“Maya Lin”. 24 July 2008. <http://architects.greatbuildings.com/Maya_Lin.html>
“Vietnam Veterans Memorial”. 24 July 2008. <http://buildings.greatbuildings.com/Vietnam_War_Memorial.html>.