Artist and Architect
Maya was born in Ohio
in 1960 to Chinese
She received a Bachelor of
Arts in 1981 from Yale.
In 1986, she received a Masters
of Architecture, also from Yale.
She was awarded Honorary
doctorates from Harvard, Williams
College and Smith College.
In 1981, in her senior year at Yale,
Maya won a public competition for
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
In 1989, she was invited to design
the Civil Rights Memorial in
In 1993, she designed the
Women‟s Table at Yale University.
In 1996, a documentary about her work, Maya Lin: In 2000, Maya published her
A Strong and Clear Vision won the Academy Award first book Boundaries.
For Best Documentary.
In 2003, Maya served on the selection
jury of the World Trade Center Site
In 2005, Maya was elected to The Memorial Competition.
American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Also in 2005, she was inducted into the
National Women‟s Hall of Fame.
“The process I go through in
art and architecture, I actually
want it to be almost “The only thing that mattered [in my
childlike.” family] was what you were to do in
life, and it wasn't about money. It
was about teaching or learning.”
“You should be having
more fun in…school.
You should be exploring
things because you want
to explore them and
learning because you love learning…”
“In all my work I have tried to create works that present
you with information allowing you the chance to come
to your own conclusions; they ask you to think.”
Maya has maintained a
careful balance between
art and architecture
throughout her career,
creating a remarkable
body of work that
includes large-scale site-
architectural works and
Both landscape and the environment have greatly influenced
and inspired Maya throughout her career and can be seen in
all of her works.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
In 1981, Maya won an open competition for
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
beating out over 1,400 other
The black-cut masonry wall had the names
of 58,253 fallen soldiers carved into its
The wall is granite and V-shaped, with one
side pointing to the Lincoln Memorial
and the other to the Washington
Monument in Washington D.C.
Maya‟s conception was to create an
opening or wound in the earth to
symbolize the gravity of the loss of the
The design was controversial because it
was unconventional and non-
The Civil Rights Memorial
The Civil Rights Memorial is a stone
water table that intertwines
historical events of the civil rights
era with the names of the people
who were killed during that time.
The water table is made of black
granite, inscribed with historical
events from 1954 to 1968.
The table is accompanied by a 10 foot
high water wall, inscribed with a
quote by Martin Luther King Jr.,
“We are not satisfied and we will
not be satisfied „until justice rolls
down like and water and
righteousness like a mighty
This exhibition showed how Maya continues to explore
landscape as both form and content.
Storm King Wave Field
The Wavefield encompasses an
eleven-acre site, with the
earthwork covering four
acres at the Storm King Art
The Wavefield is comprised
of seven rows of undulating,
rolling waves of earth and
The waves range in height
from ten to fifteen feet.
The Riggio-Lynch Chapel
The Chapel was designed for the Children‟s
The heart of the design of the Chapel is
the abstracted image of a boat or ark.
This 4,000 square foot
residence evolved out
of a desire to create the
simplest of forms - a
The house is in essence
a box within a box.
MAYA’S BIG IDEA:
What is identity?
How would you define a
What type of situations
impact identity? What symbols are
used in defining
What types of art making identity?
are good for creating works
Maya on Identity
“As the child of immigrants you have that sense
of, Where are you? Where‟s home? And
trying to make a home…” All of Maya‟s works
“I think what makes art valuable is:
it is about an individual expressing
of personal associations
what they think is a part of them,
and variety and difference and
and she often uses her
clashes is what makes art valuable, identity as a focal point.
that there is no one defining idea of
what art is or what it should do.
And that's what makes it art,
that it has no rules, that it's so
individualized in that sense.”
Maya‟s Other Big Ideas