The pieces in this gallery are about identification, literally, culturally, nationalistically. They also ask, “what is identification?”
When I started this series, it was literally about identification. I was exploring the fragile & fragmented stories of my and my parents’ sudden flight from Vietnam, in 1978. The first pieces in this series draw from a 1 x 2 inch photograph which was used as legal identification for immigration purposes), but it is also about psychological, emotional, ethnic and nationalistic identification, and the utter difficulty of identifying for refugees, for whom the rough & abrupt process of fleeing can be disorienting. The image depicts my mother with child in arm (myself) while an identification sign rudely interrupts our embrace. It is a photo that was taken for the purpose of identification, but for me, it is one of the few vestiges remaining of that period in our lives.
I used materials and processes that described my process of discovery as well as the nature of memory. I used fragile and impermanent materials like rice paper and charcoal, incorporated delicate Xerox transfers that never seemed to pick up enough detail, ripped, warped, changed, haunted, and constantly left me with a hunger to explore more.