I currently have an installation up at the Thoreau Center for Sustainability in the San Francisco Presidio, as part of an AAWAA exhibition called “Hungry Ghost: Yearning for Fullfillment.” The title itself was a bit daunting, if taken literally. I’ve been exploring perception of self, of others, of how we view each other on the surface. So this is an attempt to go deeper within the context of the theme. Anyway, this was my proposal:
We are ourselves
dwellers of our internal world and receptacles of the outside world.
I don’t necessarily accept the construct of the iconic manic hungry ghost, who is yearning for fulfillment as it applies to Asian American Women and to women in general. The term serves as a label, to separate and to alienate an aspect of ourselves. Hungry ghost. defining a yearning, a craving, a need, a drive, a passion, a singular focus, an objective, a direction, a goal. Our journey through this world is an individual passage within the inherent framework of our multi- cultural identity. Our family and the food we share, the traditions we keep- serve as faceted connections that binds us as a community. Our exterior image is what the outside sees, but we are all rich in our internal identities, our being, our selves. Perhaps I too am a hungry ghost whose familial cultural past drives me to ask to participate or perhaps it is just having something to contribute.
With this installation, the Asian American Women Artists and Writers who embarked on this journey to articulate their thoughts on the theme of Hungry Ghost: Yearning for Fulfillment will be photographed.
Each picture, each face tells a story, the passage of time articulated. And so much can be read into an individual expression taken out context.
Look down, and one becomes subservient, shy, weak, and humble.
Look sideways, and suddenly there is pretext for jealousy, envy, and suspicion.
Look up there is a perception of anticipation, hope, wonder, and expectation.
Look at the camera and perhaps ones soul is revealed.
Through this series of photographs of these artists and writers, the audience can further engage and construct their own understanding of the exhibition by having the opportunity to go deeper- To view the work in the context of the individual. To perhaps discover or reaffirm that a rich interior life is not always articulated by the way a person looks. The placid surface, the outside- the face, the eyes, the expressions may contrast with what percolates under the skin on the inside- the intellect, the thoughtful creative interior that produces this work- the writing, the art.
So the viewers can perhaps construct their own narrative they travel through the exhibition, to see the images of the artists and the writers, then comeback to look and read and perhaps re-experience this Hungry Ghost exhibition along the corridors of the Thoreau Center for Sustainability.
30 artists and writers from all over the globe embarked on this journey to articulate their thoughts on the theme of Hungry Ghost: Yearning for Fulfillment agreed to be photographed by their co-workers, friends, family, and by me.
Then, I asked for an answer to a simple question in 10 words or less: Who are you?
Their powerful, sometimes lyrical, humorous, cynical, reflective, open responses are layered on the piece.
end of section one