2018 - Ongoing
United States; California, United States; Los Angeles, California, United States; San Gabriel, California, United States
Socio-economics, an adherence to Western cultural norms, and my underlying guilt about assimilation inform my work as a Chinese American. I use photography to help examine these and acknowledge my disjointed relationship with these subjects.
Asian American communities (Largely Chinese-American) in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley comprise a substantial portion of its population. Suburban cities in the San Gabriel Valley with large non-white populations, or ethnoburbs, which include Alhambra, Arcadia, Rosemead, San Marino, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, and Temple City, and continue eastward to Diamond Bar, Hacienda Heights, and Rowland Heights. Since the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, there has been an influx of some 20 million Asian immigrants to the United States, many of whom settled in San Gabriel Valley due to its close proximity to Chinatown, and its suburban appeal.
My color photographs visually manifest my relationship to the area. I spent many childhood summers in the San Gabriel Valley and lived in its many ethnoburbs as an adult. I maintain a sense of cultural pride of place, even though I exist somewhat adjacent to it. I seek out seemingly ordinary locations to reveal their distinct identities; although I have memories connected to these places, the specifics are sometimes inconsequential to the compositions. An innocuous commercial intersection conjures my younger self driving in days past, but the unpopulated image is quiet and still. Having played a formative role in my life, the ever-changing and varied details of the San Gabriel Valley function as a means of access to my Chinese American culture.