My work yearns for a deeper connection with Chinese culture and desire for reuniting with my biological family. To Build a Shelter expresses my feelings of loss, grief, trauma, and hope related to adoption trauma. Silkscreened official government documents pertaining to my adoption and naturalization as a United States citizen are printed on a repurposed bed sheet. The documents printed include: my Certificate of Naturalization, my Chinese passport, and my US passport. In addition to these documents, on the surface of the bed sheet there is also translation of a letter from my biological mother and a map of my hometown, Changzhou, China.
The layering and printing of such documents on a repurposed bed sheet reflect upon my experience as a displaced, fostered, and adopted Chinese American. The materiality of the bed sheet expresses the reoccurrence of beds as throughout my work as well as feelings of intimacy and security. The a-frame tent is handcrafted from foraged bamboo, which indicates the correlation between the historical usage of bamboo within Chinese culture and bamboo as a plant to express my complex identity. To Build A Shelter was designed with the idea of play and hopes that someday I will have the opportunity to meet my biological sister here to reunite after over twenty years of forced separation.
Created during Winter Keyholder Residency at Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.