Visions of Eden

Ryan Frigillana

2018 - 2020

New York, United States

The underlying threads forming the fabric to Visions of Eden are bound to the humble origins of my family—first-generation Americans who emigrated from the Philippines in the early 90’s. The work serves as a love letter to the immigrant spirit and a visual critique of two parallel ideologies: Christian doctrine and The American Dream.

Responding to my heavy religious upbringing and childhood experiences in assimilating, I question the veracity of these psychologically ingrained mythologies and the faulty notion of paradise. To people abroad, America is painted as a proverbial Eden: the land of milk and honey, wealth and excess. What is our forbidden tree? What is gained and lost in the search for prosperity? Initially conceived as an experience in book form, the project weaves together original photography with appropriated and manipulated imagery taken from children’s Bible-story books and ephemera from my own family’s archives—snapshots, letters, and video stills—forming a window into the complex experience of faith, both spiritual and ideological.

I meditate on the notion of familial identity and the implications of religion, death, legacy, and false promise on the immigrant psyche. This hybrid “portrait” contemplates past and present, and both the uncertainty and hope of our desired futures.

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