Miya Ando is a Japanese/American artist based in New York. Her art is rooted in the dialectic coexistence of Eastern and Western cultures through the lens of natural phenomena.  

Her work is part of many public collections, such as: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Nassau County Museum of Art, NY; Corning Museum of Glass, NY; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Luftmuseum, Germany; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA; the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; as well as in numerous private collections. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Bolinas Museum, CA; the Asia Society Museum, TX; the Noguchi Museum, NY; Savannah College of Art and Design Museum, GA; the Nassau County Museum, NY; and the American University Museum, Washington DC. Her work has been included in recent group exhibitions at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; Bronx Museum, NY; and Queens Museum of Art, NY.  

Ando has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Award, and has produced several public commissions, most notably a 30-foot-tall sculpture built from World Trade Center steel for Olympic Park in London to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, for which she was nominated for a DARC Award in Best Light Art Installation. Ando was also commissioned to create artwork for the historic Philip Johnson Glass House, CT. Most recently, Ando received the 2023 Brookfield Place New York Annual Arts Commission. The artist holds a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, studied East Asian studies at Yale University and apprenticed with a master metalsmith in Japan.  


Original Art by Miya Ando


In the work of Miya Ando, nature serves as form and metaphor for expressing the concepts of impermanence and interdependence. Growing up between two cultures, geographies and languages—the Redwood forest in Northern California and a Buddhist temple in Japan—Ando makes sculpture, paintings, drawings and installations that engage duality by merging the manmade with the organic, the material with the immaterial, and Eastern and Western culture. Across her oeuvre, she employs a variety of media—steel, wood, glass, aluminum, washi paper—to poetically articulate the cycles of life and the inexorable passage of time. The results are rigorously researched, materially rich and conceptually layered objects that mirror the ephemeral nature of their subject—the changing seasons, phases of the moon, shifting clouds, weather patterns and the stars in the night sky.  

Ando’s perception and experience of natural phenomena have become the conceptual and narrative core of her practice. Language, a signifier of cultural values, anchors Ando’s practice and creative inquiry. Over the past two decades the artist has undertaken extensive research of Japanese literature and historical texts, recording and translating thousands of mostly arcane Japanese words that express a philosophy of human existence in relation to nature which she seeks to preserve and translate into visual form. The Japanese idioms Ando integrates in her practice are poetic and pragmatic descriptions of phenomena associated with the moon, rain, clouds and other natural elements. For the most part, the Japanese symbols, which generally translate into full sentences in English, embody an immense reverence for the natural world and an acute awareness of humanity’s dependence upon it. Ando provides an approximate English translation of these words in the titles for her artworks, consciously revealing the gap between the two languages and cultures that have informed her identity and point of view.  

Original Art by Miya Ando

What initially compelled you to pursue art?

I lived in a Buddhist temple in Japan as a child and have always been fascinated by iconography.

Who or what in your life influences your practice the most?

Nature was highlighted in my dual upbringing in Japan and California. There was a huge emphasis and importance placed on the attunement to the natural world.  

What do you feel is the key concept that connects your works?

“Mono no aware,” a Japanese concept that describes an awareness of particularly fleeting aspects of nature as a metaphor of the human condition.

Tell us about a moment that ultimately made you look at your art and/or practice differently.

In 2013-2016 I sewed mandalas and made paintings, which were auctioned, and 100% of the proceeds were donated to aid Tibetan nuns who had been exiled from their country and had relocated to near Dharamsala. My work supported 27 nuns with their food, education, shelter and needs for one full year, and this intrinsically changed my relationship to the function of art.

What does your art give you that nothing else can?

Art is thinking; artworks are residue of thought. Art gives me a vehicle to follow and examine my thinking process.

Original Art by Miya Ando