"... with commemoration, we define ourselves as human, and with the inscriptions of the past, we reconfigure our destiny. And we will never forget, because this story is about all of us."
Family Tree, 2011, mixed media on panel, 5 ½ x 4” each panel
Inspired by the need to excavate my roots, this series became an effective way to help document my family history. Upon the pages of my late great aunt’s prayer book, I’ve incorporated family photos and imagery drawn from both personal memories and the memories of various family members.
From childhood pastimes of cricket-fighting to our fight for Freedom. From memories of folding paper boats and sending them down the rain-soaked streets of Saigon to our voyage as boat people. From my youngest auntie’s memory of playing house in Grandmother and Grandfather’s front yard to my great grandparents building a house in their backyard, which housed the many orphans who had been abandoned on their doorstep. In my aim to preserve family history, I have found both the day-to-day memories as equally important as the life-changing experiences and the significant struggles.
What began as a way to honor my family and more deeply grasp the perspectives of my predecessors grew into a deeper meditation to gain a better sense of what family means as I spent countless hours staring at their photographs and into the eyes of my loved ones, past and present.