Laura Swanson
Curated Exhibition

Hidden

The virtual exhibition "Hidden" showcases a range of material, bodily, and sensorial artwork and literature that are tied to each other by their varied attempts at concealment. (Left: Laura Swanson, "Pillow (Anti-Self-Portrait)," Inkjet print, 2008)

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Denise Cruz

Cruz discusses her search for a Filipino literary archive, using Black Atlantic studies as a model, and the complications of Filipina nationalism.

Dialogues

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Reflecting on the antecedents and aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda’s devastating landfall, Gina Apostol, Joi Barrios, Kale Fajardo, Dylan Rodriguez and Teresia Teaiwa layer a sea of ideas about the legacy of defeat, military occupation, racial genocide, and a Pacific coalition.

Opening

Queer Sights and Sounds

Queer Sites and Sounds is open at ARTSblock in Riverside, CA, through Nov 1, 2014!

curated exhibition

Hidden

The virtual exhibition Hidden showcases a range of material, bodily, and sensorial artwork and literature that are tied to each other by their varied attempts at concealment. We associate the word “hidden” with bodies or objects that cannot be seen—things out of sight and perhaps out of mind. But each of these works visually or viscerally transmits the sense that there are mysterious presences hidden or in hiding. 
 
These works invite us to tease out the details and structures that have facilitated their concealment. What is purportedly hidden then emerges in plain sight. Collectively, the works in Hidden capture “absent presences.” 
 
During the conceptual stages of Hidden, I was influenced by stories of the undocumented in the United States, and I thought about my own family’s connection to this issue. I grew up abroad, and the knowledge that some family members were “TNT” an acronym for tago ng tago or “undocumented migrants” in the United States was always present in our household. Their stories and their existence were known to all of us, but they remained hidden from society writ large. 
 
Only later did I realize that their presence and visibility in our lives came with tremendous stakes. If caught as undocumented, they could have been detained or deported back to the Philippines. When I read about the undocumented, I think about my relatives and how their lives connect to other bodies, communities, spaces, feelings, and survival strategies.
 
I hope that Hidden helps to answer questions that continue to linger: What does it mean to be hidden? What forces govern the in/visibility of people or spaces? How do artists and writers conceptualize the spectral, both phantasms and memories?
 
Curated by Jan Christian Bernabe 
September 2014
 
Special thanks to my curatorial assistant intern: Tanya Tran
 
Over the course of several weeks, work from the following artists and writers will unfold on CA+T’s website. Maraming salamat to all the contributors to Hidden.
 
Kimberly Arteche, Lek Borja, Marylene Camacho, Carina A. del Rosario, John Yoyogi Fortes, Mik Gaspay, Luisa A. Igloria, Farsad Labbauf, Lin + Lam, Kang Seung Lee, Jessica Lichtenstein, Senalka McDonald,  Michelle Peñaloza, Barbra Ramos, Chris Sicat, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Laura Swanson, Kenneth Tam, Maria Villote
 
Hidden was made possible through the generous support of donors.
 

Coat (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2005 Inkjet print. 20 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

White (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2007 Inkjet print. 30 in. x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

Shower (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2008 Inkjet print. 20 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

Peggy Lee (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2008 Inkjet print. 20 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

T-Shirt (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2008 Inkjet print. 20 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

Pillow (Anti-Self-Portrait)

Laura Swanson

2008 Inkjet print. 20 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Laura Swanson

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Born in Minneapolis, MN, Swanson received her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her work has been exhibited within the United States at the RISD Museum of Art, Camera Club of New York, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, and internationally at Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin, Germany; Media Arts Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; and in South Korea at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swanson was a National Endowment for the Arts John Renna Art Scholar in 2008-2010, a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in 2010-2011, and received a Wynn Newhouse Award from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in 2013. Her work is held in collection at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art in Jeju, South Korea. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Swanson is an artist examining representation of the body on display, working across various media, including drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, and video. Pulling from multiple sources—personal experience, critical theory, art history, advertising, popular culture, sociology—her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive. Her work centers around a critical exploration of the behavior of looking at difference: how physical difference is visually depicted and objectified in culture, the consequent behaviors that cause discrimination in everyday life, and the psychological effects of being socially marginalized.

Much of her work questions the dominant cultural bias toward the sameness, size, and symmetry of things, especially people. Swanson often references the seemingly theatrical spectacle of her short statured body situated next to her six-foot-tall husband. Compelled to remove their bodies from objectification, she anthropomorphizes ready-made objects and deconstructs conventional portraiture to simultaneously create an image of solidarity and to examine the desire to look at physical difference. The safe-guarding of individual agency is asserted in a series of self-portraits, where she conceals her identity, and with fantastical dwelling spaces, which provide refuge to read critical theory in pursuit of intellectual liberation.

location

X
  • Born: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

"Victoria/Victor" from the "Passport Series"

Carina A. del Rosario

2013 - 2014 Mixed media. 7 in. x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Carina A. del Rosario

b. 1969
image description
  • See All Works
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  • visit website

Born in the Philippines, Carina A. del Rosario immigrated to the United States as a young girl. She earned her B.A. in Communication from Santa Clara University in 1991. She has studied photography with Magnum Photographer Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris Webb, Raul Touzon, and Eddie Soloway, and she has been mentored by numerous visual artists in Seattle. Her photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and mounted as public installations in the Pacific Northwest, and is in the collections of King County 4Culture, the City of Kent, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service. In addition to her own creative and documentary projects, she is a teaching artist and helps youth use visual arts and digital media to explore their communities, advocate for what matters for them, and express their own experiences. She collaborates with non-profit organizations and educational institutions to help illustrate issues such as poverty, education, health, and civil rights. She also founded the International District Engaged in Arts (IDEA) Odyssey, a collective that promotes cultural diversity, community development, and economic prosperity in Seattle’s International District/Chinatown neighborhood through visual arts. In 2013, the International Examiner honored her with a Community Voice Award for Individual Artist.

 

Portrait by Zorn B. Taylor.

Race/ethnicity is a complicated construct as it is. Combine that with gender identity, gender expression and sexuality, immigration status, and other categories, one can be left entangled by labels and expectations, subjected to many forms of discrimination, struggling to be whole.

In my own attempts at connecting to different parts of me, I have documented many communities’ fights for civil and human rights, for social justice. I’ve worked with immigrants and refugees, various coalitions of people of color, low-income communities, queer and transgender folks.* My work with trans folks has been especially powerful because they embody this struggle and resistance to be pigeonholed. Every day, transgender people are forced to choose male or female. They must always consider the possibility of harassment, discrimination, and violence when doing the most basic things, whether it’s going to the restroom or filling out an application.

In this series, I worked with a variety of people to create “passports.” I reframed typical application questions and invited them to provide answers, not by checking a box, but by using their own words to describe the most important parts of themselves. Together, we express our shared hope for the time when we are not limited and fragmented by categories, when can all be free to be our whole selves.

 

*Transgender, gender queer or gender variant people are individuals who cannot or choose not to conform to societal gender norms based upon their physical or birth sex. Some undertake medical or surgical procedures to embody their gender identity. For others, their gender expression primarily involves a social change (e.g., name, visual presentation).

location

X
  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Seattle, WA, USA

comments

X

"Simon" from the "Passport Series"

Carina A. del Rosario

2013 - 2014 Mixed media. 7 in. x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Carina A. del Rosario

b. 1969
image description
  • See All Works
  • facebook
  • visit website

Born in the Philippines, Carina A. del Rosario immigrated to the United States as a young girl. She earned her B.A. in Communication from Santa Clara University in 1991. She has studied photography with Magnum Photographer Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris Webb, Raul Touzon, and Eddie Soloway, and she has been mentored by numerous visual artists in Seattle. Her photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and mounted as public installations in the Pacific Northwest, and is in the collections of King County 4Culture, the City of Kent, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service. In addition to her own creative and documentary projects, she is a teaching artist and helps youth use visual arts and digital media to explore their communities, advocate for what matters for them, and express their own experiences. She collaborates with non-profit organizations and educational institutions to help illustrate issues such as poverty, education, health, and civil rights. She also founded the International District Engaged in Arts (IDEA) Odyssey, a collective that promotes cultural diversity, community development, and economic prosperity in Seattle’s International District/Chinatown neighborhood through visual arts. In 2013, the International Examiner honored her with a Community Voice Award for Individual Artist.

 

Portrait by Zorn B. Taylor.

Race/ethnicity is a complicated construct as it is. Combine that with gender identity, gender expression and sexuality, immigration status, and other categories, one can be left entangled by labels and expectations, subjected to many forms of discrimination, struggling to be whole.

In my own attempts at connecting to different parts of me, I have documented many communities’ fights for civil and human rights, for social justice. I’ve worked with immigrants and refugees, various coalitions of people of color, low-income communities, queer and transgender folks.* My work with trans folks has been especially powerful because they embody this struggle and resistance to be pigeonholed. Every day, transgender people are forced to choose male or female. They must always consider the possibility of harassment, discrimination, and violence when doing the most basic things, whether it’s going to the restroom or filling out an application.

In this series, I worked with a variety of people to create “passports.” I reframed typical application questions and invited them to provide answers, not by checking a box, but by using their own words to describe the most important parts of themselves. Together, we express our shared hope for the time when we are not limited and fragmented by categories, when can all be free to be our whole selves.

 

*Transgender, gender queer or gender variant people are individuals who cannot or choose not to conform to societal gender norms based upon their physical or birth sex. Some undertake medical or surgical procedures to embody their gender identity. For others, their gender expression primarily involves a social change (e.g., name, visual presentation).

location

X
  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Seattle, WA, USA

comments

X

"Butterfly" from the "Passport Series"

Carina A. del Rosario

2013 - 2014 Mixed media. 7 in. x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Carina A. del Rosario

b. 1969
image description
  • See All Works
  • facebook
  • visit website

Born in the Philippines, Carina A. del Rosario immigrated to the United States as a young girl. She earned her B.A. in Communication from Santa Clara University in 1991. She has studied photography with Magnum Photographer Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris Webb, Raul Touzon, and Eddie Soloway, and she has been mentored by numerous visual artists in Seattle. Her photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and mounted as public installations in the Pacific Northwest, and is in the collections of King County 4Culture, the City of Kent, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service. In addition to her own creative and documentary projects, she is a teaching artist and helps youth use visual arts and digital media to explore their communities, advocate for what matters for them, and express their own experiences. She collaborates with non-profit organizations and educational institutions to help illustrate issues such as poverty, education, health, and civil rights. She also founded the International District Engaged in Arts (IDEA) Odyssey, a collective that promotes cultural diversity, community development, and economic prosperity in Seattle’s International District/Chinatown neighborhood through visual arts. In 2013, the International Examiner honored her with a Community Voice Award for Individual Artist.

 

Portrait by Zorn B. Taylor.

Race/ethnicity is a complicated construct as it is. Combine that with gender identity, gender expression and sexuality, immigration status, and other categories, one can be left entangled by labels and expectations, subjected to many forms of discrimination, struggling to be whole.

In my own attempts at connecting to different parts of me, I have documented many communities’ fights for civil and human rights, for social justice. I’ve worked with immigrants and refugees, various coalitions of people of color, low-income communities, queer and transgender folks.* My work with trans folks has been especially powerful because they embody this struggle and resistance to be pigeonholed. Every day, transgender people are forced to choose male or female. They must always consider the possibility of harassment, discrimination, and violence when doing the most basic things, whether it’s going to the restroom or filling out an application.

In this series, I worked with a variety of people to create “passports.” I reframed typical application questions and invited them to provide answers, not by checking a box, but by using their own words to describe the most important parts of themselves. Together, we express our shared hope for the time when we are not limited and fragmented by categories, when can all be free to be our whole selves.

 

*Transgender, gender queer or gender variant people are individuals who cannot or choose not to conform to societal gender norms based upon their physical or birth sex. Some undertake medical or surgical procedures to embody their gender identity. For others, their gender expression primarily involves a social change (e.g., name, visual presentation).

location

X
  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Seattle, WA, USA

comments

X

"LilS" from the "Passport Series"

Carina A. del Rosario

2013 - 2014 Mixed media. 7 in. x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Carina A. del Rosario

b. 1969
image description
  • See All Works
  • facebook
  • visit website

Born in the Philippines, Carina A. del Rosario immigrated to the United States as a young girl. She earned her B.A. in Communication from Santa Clara University in 1991. She has studied photography with Magnum Photographer Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris Webb, Raul Touzon, and Eddie Soloway, and she has been mentored by numerous visual artists in Seattle. Her photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and mounted as public installations in the Pacific Northwest, and is in the collections of King County 4Culture, the City of Kent, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service. In addition to her own creative and documentary projects, she is a teaching artist and helps youth use visual arts and digital media to explore their communities, advocate for what matters for them, and express their own experiences. She collaborates with non-profit organizations and educational institutions to help illustrate issues such as poverty, education, health, and civil rights. She also founded the International District Engaged in Arts (IDEA) Odyssey, a collective that promotes cultural diversity, community development, and economic prosperity in Seattle’s International District/Chinatown neighborhood through visual arts. In 2013, the International Examiner honored her with a Community Voice Award for Individual Artist.

 

Portrait by Zorn B. Taylor.

Race/ethnicity is a complicated construct as it is. Combine that with gender identity, gender expression and sexuality, immigration status, and other categories, one can be left entangled by labels and expectations, subjected to many forms of discrimination, struggling to be whole.

In my own attempts at connecting to different parts of me, I have documented many communities’ fights for civil and human rights, for social justice. I’ve worked with immigrants and refugees, various coalitions of people of color, low-income communities, queer and transgender folks.* My work with trans folks has been especially powerful because they embody this struggle and resistance to be pigeonholed. Every day, transgender people are forced to choose male or female. They must always consider the possibility of harassment, discrimination, and violence when doing the most basic things, whether it’s going to the restroom or filling out an application.

In this series, I worked with a variety of people to create “passports.” I reframed typical application questions and invited them to provide answers, not by checking a box, but by using their own words to describe the most important parts of themselves. Together, we express our shared hope for the time when we are not limited and fragmented by categories, when can all be free to be our whole selves.

 

*Transgender, gender queer or gender variant people are individuals who cannot or choose not to conform to societal gender norms based upon their physical or birth sex. Some undertake medical or surgical procedures to embody their gender identity. For others, their gender expression primarily involves a social change (e.g., name, visual presentation).

location

X
  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Seattle, WA, USA

comments

X