To All Persons transforms War Relocation Authority notices and origami balloons into a memorial for those who were confined in the U.S. government’s internment camps and detention centers during WWII. The origami forms spilling over the orders are signifiers of innocence and ingenuity while acting as stand-ins for the victims of this systemic act of cruelty and dehumanization. The origami formation does not overtake the orders in volume, but is able to disrupt their cold indifference through color and dimensionality. The piece is built around the laborious process of folding and breathing life into the paper forms. The act of making has become a way of honoring and preserving the narratives of my people and myself.
Circle of Togetherness
Circle of Togetherness, 2015
sumi ink on newsprint, 1st edition
each painting measures 18" x 24"
As a meditative exercise, Circle of Togetherness is an endless series of paintings, each composed of a singular circular brush stroke. The act of painting is a means of expression and as such my artistic practice is a mode of both intellectual communication and emotional reflection. Until now the majority of my work has functioned as an exploration of historical trauma. It is true that I have gotten some cathartic release through photographing and painting my beliefs and experience, but my primary focus has been on educating non-Asian individuals, combatting the concept of “post-racial America”, and memorializing the history of my family. I have not dealt directly with my pain. Through Circle of Togetherness I am striving to seize hope, reach peace, and claim answers for myself.
Circle of Togetherness is what I have decided to call the body of work I’m producing through the act of meditative Japanese Zen Buddhist painting. While the creation of an enso may seem simple and therefore trivial, it is in fact a highly draining act of self-awareness. The ‘art’ is not the mark itself, but rather it is the process I undergo to form the mark. The circles are representative of my desire for healing. I am conflicted within myself. I find pride and strength in my Asian identity, but I am afflicted by oppression and harmed by daily reminders of white society’s bastardization of Asian history, culture, and tradition. In my haste to check racial inequity, I have not considered the adverse effects my work has had on my emotional health. I seek to remedy this. I desire tranquility.
I am (not)
I am (not), 2015
3 wearable buttons
each measures 6" in diameter
I am (not) challenges the dynamics of identity by questioning and conflating racial and national heritage. I combine a childhood photograph of myself with “I am” statements to expand upon the dilemma of feeling isolated within my own communities. The work takes the form of wearable buttons as an allusion to the practice of self-identification that non-Japanese Asian Americans engaged in during the war. The performative aspect of the piece challenges viewers to contend directly with my presence as an “other” in America. The dual identification and non-identification that the buttons allow me plays on the anxiety I have over never truly fitting in – of never being enough of my various selves to belong. The size of the buttons points to the spectacle of this divide and confronts viewers with the reality of contemporary race relations.
you say I am
you say I am, 2015
origami paper on photographic print
each print measures 4" x 5"
I am am I
I am am I, 2016
set of 3 miniature books, mixed paper and ink, 1st edition
each book's cover image measures approximately 2.5 cm x 3.5 cm
of Japanese Ancestry
of Japanese Ancestry, 2016
mixed media installation (origami paper, family belongings, iPad)