In her earliest years as a landscape architect, Maya Lin was drawn to creating sculptures that would blend into their natural surroundings. In a series of works such as her Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama and her Peace Chapel at Juniata College, she was creating an aesthetic that combined nature with the built environment.
She continued to pursue her interest in the natural world as she moved through her artistic career. As a result, she is now known for her installations that use elements of the landscape and emphasize the beauty of the land.
Often she incorporates natural forms, such as swells of earth in her outdoor sculptures, that might not be noticed by viewers who are not looking for them or from a distance. These works of art are always centered on the land, and demonstrate her reverence for it and a deep understanding of its history.
Lin’s sculptural work has become increasingly popular over the years, particularly in areas of the country that are experiencing significant changes in their natural landscape. She also works in other genres, such as architecture and public art.
The documentary film Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, made in 1995, highlights her life and career. In the film, Lin explains her background as a Chinese intellectual who arrived in America and began to study at Yale University.
She is now an internationally acclaimed artist and a winner of numerous awards and honors. In 2009 President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, and in 2016 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is an active member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.