As an artist migrating from China to North America, both my identity and my work pass through the complex filters of different countries, languages, and cultural expectations. Making art is a transmigration of my ideas, and thus my spirit, move through and with the different layers of my physical experience.
In an effort to shape myself, I take traditional Chinese materials and techniques and reinvent them within a contemporary aesthetic and presentation. In the series, Flux, I use the reeds and red tissue paper of Chinese lantern making to mold the fragile cocoons of an immigrant life – where staying safe and protected within an unfamiliar, often intimidating cultural environment is essential to emerging and adapting with a reincarnated identity.
In my art, every idea travels through the intricate passageway of how I think in Chinese but speak in English. Choosing the right material for my work is like choosing the right word in my vocabulary. For Guan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, I applied the red threads used to make tassels for Chinese lanterns to a statue I had cast of her, and then, even though she was touching the floor, I suspended her by a wire to show how, in my adopted culture, I am suspended between what I used to be and what I am becoming.
I use the minimalist concepts and theatricality of my work to expose the intricate layers of my internal world where Chinese culture, training and traditions inspire my work so I can build a bridge of survival, safety and adaptation to the foreign land that molds and informs my work.
I filter Chinese thoughts through English words, English words through Chinese culture, and my images through the concepts of my art – all the while my core sense of Self remains suspended above and between these two worlds.