(re)constructing the space in-between, 2021

Hand tools, eggshells, acrylic

On view at the Mint Museum of Art - Uptown, May 7 - Aug 29, 2021

 

When I was growing up in my Vietnamese immigrant community, we were told to work hard and keep our heads down. Blend in, and you will be successful. Or, in other words, don't rock the boat. As former "Boat People", not rocking the literal boat was essential for survival.

My mom kept her head down, exhausted from hours of factory work, unseen. But I saw her. I saw her resilience, her strength and too often her frustration, buried beneath mountainous silence.

Over the years, her silence filled my desire to be seen, and, more importantly, to be heard. Our progress is built on those who came before us. Shattering the glass ceiling above was unimaginable for my mom, because of the fragile glass below her exhausted feet—a thin barrier floating over an abyss of war and poverty. Through her sacrifices, I was given the chance to safely exist in the delicate space in-between, above that floor and in closer proximity to what was hovering above.

In this new series, I hope to make objects for this in-between space. These objects, covered in eggshells, appear fragile; but they are strong ... strong enough to break glass. However, I reach for these tools not only to break barriers, but also to build, forge, and construct new paths towards freedom and equality. Many things, like stones and bullets, can shatter glass. I am here to build.