paulownia tomentosa seeds, buds, fruit, and leaves; unfired porcelain; cinderblocks; rail spikes
Invasive species are defined as non-native species that “pose threats to prosperity, security, and quality of life.” Intrigued by the similarities in discourse between invasive species and immigration by non-white peoples, The seeds and foliage of the empress tree, a persistently successful exotic invasive, become metaphor for immigrant communities who have thrived despite government attempts to control or ‘eradicate.’ Comprised of seeds, buds, and leaves of the empress tree mixed with unfired porcelain, 傳: Bury It and It Will Grow (pronounced: chuán; meaning: to spread, to propagate, to transmit, to impart, to express) inverts the material history of the empress tree as utilitarian padding for delicate porcelain shipments from China in the 1900s. 傳: Bury It and It Will Grow deconstructs the relationship between material good (porcelain) and utilitarian labor (empress tree seeds) turning commodity into cultivator, filler into feature.
刈家 cut houses
gold thread, cotton and linen fiber
九家 nine houses
joss paper, cotton and linen fiber
九家 nine houses and 刈家 cut houses emerged from a desire to make work that resonates with the condition of struggles to find affordable, sustainable housing in Chinatown and tenant fights against displacement. The names of the works are inspired by the Chinese words for two different types of joss paper burned as offerings in various Asian religious and cultural rituals.
Paper, marker, polaroid photos
A Point Past the Present is a collaboratively created "time capsule" produced for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's exhibition, CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures. This site-specific time capsule of sorts captures images of objects from Pearl River Mart’s past while giving forth ideas, wishes, hopes, and dreams for the future of Chinatown. Participants were invited to take polaroid snapshots of tchotchkes typically sold by Pearl River Mart, write their dreams and wishes for Chinatown on the photos, and contribute their words and image to the time capsule.
Red brick dust, cotton and linen fiber, performance, conversation
Horizon Line is a public intervention that combines performance and installation to investigate social geographic boundaries both physical and perceived, as well as the liminal space in between. Officially deemed unconstitutional, redlining was a pernicious policy that has had lasting implications on current discriminatory trends in urban neighborhood developments. Using the history of redlining in New York City as a point of departure, Horizon Line acts as a visual illustration of the policy’s physical presence while creating spaces for passersby to connect and contribute their experiences to a social biography of the city’s shifting landscape.
Digital collage on voile
Digital collage on cotton rag
Created as an accompanying study to A Curated Selection / Repackaged Value, this triptych, Market Authentics, is a study in aesthetic nostalgia, the search for authenticity, and food culture in the U.S., East Asia, and Southeast Asia. Photos taken from family vacations and trips around Chinatown, Manhattan were collaged, scanned, layered, and then printed in large format on translucent fabric for a dreamy and chaotic immersive effect.
Market Authentics has since been modified to engage the viewer at an immersive scale, and then reinstalled at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, PA.
Food, menus, subway tile printed tapestries, performance, conversation
A Curated Selection / Repackaged Value is a site-specific, socially engaged, social sculpture that questions the classed and racially codified language used to market food at high end restaurants by comparing it to the often literal language used to talk about food in "ethnic," "mom and pop," "hole-in-the-wall," "no-frills" food establishments. The performance was originally installed in the kitchen of APT 2D occupying both of areas of egress to form two separate pop-up restaurant-esque facades.
Photographic prints on Sintra PVC
Who's Who is series of photos and self-proclaimed descriptions of the stakeholders of Pearl Street–individuals who live or work in the neighborhood Chinatown North of Philadelphia, PA. Who's Who was created out of the recognition that few of these stakeholders interact with each other on a regular basis. Descriptions of each participant were included to that residents of the area could learn more about their neighborhood as they peruse the exhibition. This photo series was installed in an outdoor exhibition along the 1200 block of Pearl Street.
Found objects: couch, cigarette butts, dime bags, needle caps
Ready made: gems, jewels, beads, glue
Finding Comfort is a narrative installation exploring the concept of home, homelessness, and overcoming from the perspective of men in the process of overcoming homelessness, addiction, and incarceration ("The Overcomers") from Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Finding Comfort was co-created by artist facilitators Emily Chow Bluck and Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin and The Overcomers using objects found from daily street cleanings, such as cigarette butts, dime bags, and cardboard, as well as some ready made items, gems and sequins, to reflect relative and evolving understandings of comfort from someone who has experienced homelessness.
Food, facts, social and economic exchange
Kitchen of Corrections is a pop-up restaurant that serves cuisine inspired by dishes that have traditionally emerged from prison cultures in the United States. Each dish has been designed by returning citizens and overcomers of homelessness and addiction who have a passion for cooking. At Asian Arts Initiative’s 3rd Annual Pearl Street Block Party, Kitchen of Corrections opened its doors for the first time in hopes of correcting the perceptions of the incarcerated, raise awareness of the harsh realities of the prison experience, and build a movement through the medium of food and storytelling.
Before/After is an exhibition documenting the work of some of the Pearl Street caretakers. These caretakers are also known as “The Overcomers”–men in recovery from homelessness, addiction, and incarceration who live and work at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. The exhibition was inspired by a community meeting in which residents discussed their perceptions of the negative presence and role that homeless people play in the Chinatown North neighborhood. Yet the meeting occurred in the absence of representatives from the homeless community. Before/After deconstructs preconceived understandings of the homeless community while highlighting some of their contributions to caring for the neighborhood.
Water, plastic cups, markers, conversation
Waterbar is a mobile bar that creates an impromptu space for people to gather and connect outside the realm of commodity. It was developed through the observed need for free and accessible water during the hottest months of the year. It is an “excuse” to connect disparate communities in dialogue whom may not otherwise think to relate to one another while reflecting on the symbolism of water in their lives. Waterbar functioned as a vehicle for artists Emily Chow Bluck and Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, recent transplants to Philadelphia, to get to know their newfound neighborhood and its diverse constituencies.
Scratch off foils, digital print on gatorboard
Rich with History is a public artwork installed in the Lafayette Market Convenience Store along Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore. It makes the connection between current events and those of the past by attaching historical photographs and facts in Black American history on to a scratch off lotto ticket, which can be seen as a symbol of hope and chance for a better future. The work addresses present civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray who was arrested in Sandton-Winchester on April 12th and died a few days later after suffering a deadly injury in police custody. The work ties this tragedy and the Black Lives Matter movement to histories of struggle and success in the Black American community as a way of moving forward to shape the future to come, framing knowing history as akin to wealth. Historic photos from the Maryland Historical Society collections.
Baltimore Police Department scanner audio, oral histories
Found objects, acrylic display cases, sod, found cardboard, bricks, bottles, gold leaf
Humble Presence is a practice in mindfulness, openness to possibilities, and consistent presence in community with an end goal of transforming a 12 row- house-wide vacant lot along Pennsylvania Avenue into a beautiful community performance area and urban orchard. This space, located on the border of the Sandtown-Winchester and Upton neighborhoods in West Baltimore, is to be called The Jubilee Gathering.
Stickers, expired or spoiling produce
SPOIL-a-Lot is a site specific, stickering campaign for food justice that took place in the Save-a-Lot food stores locations in West Baltimore. In partial collaboration with the No Boundaries Coalition, SPOIL-a-Lot was meant to raise awareness among shoppers and store management and staff alike of the low quality, low freshness of the food items sold at Save-a-Lots in low-income, predominantly African American areas within Baltimore City. This work came out of the No Boundaries Coalition's initiative to hold community surveys of the quality of the food, environment, and customer service at various Save-a-Lots across the city.
Residue/excess is a photographic exploration of West Baltimore with particular attention paid to objects left behind amid the urban landscape.
16 black plastic bags, trash
COLONIZE is a site specific work that displaces trash from West Baltimore to dump at Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus. The dumping is a physical rejection of the vacancy and degradation that Johns Hopkins University has caused communities in Baltimore from using eminent domain to seize private properties for future development only to have those properties deteriorate for decades, thus becoming attractive nuisances. These properties accumulate litter on a daily basis, baits rodents, and appeals to local drug dealers, users, and other engaging in unwelcomed community activity.
Video, digitized photos, digitized monoprints, quotes, food, conversation
Community Corners is a site specific public dialogue and visual art project about the relationship between corner stores, their owners and workers, and the neighborhood residents of West Baltimore where the stores reside. The project strives to bring awareness of and include community participation in reimagining corner stores in community. Corner stores historically and contemporarily have functioned as an integral component to neighborhood life. Sometimes they have been used as meeting places, sometimes as places to acquire nourishment, and sometimes as points of conflict. This project highlights corner stores as important loci in community life and asks passersby to reflect upon what community can do for corner stores and what corner stores can do for community.
Acrylic, watercolor paper, masonite
42 inches x 120 inches
Being a role model starts today was a community art mural created in collaboration with the students at Gilmor Elementary School in Baltimore, MD.
48 inches x 96 inches
Food + Farm was a semester long community arts curriculum culminating in a community sign project with the youth at arts non-profit program, Jubilee Arts
Reappropriated wood, photographic prints on transparencies, bricks, paint, performance
Ova East is a public, open mic and art making place where people from the local East Baltimore community, students, faculty, and staff from MICA, and Baltimoreans at large can come together to share a space of artistic, transformative potential.
A collection of two- and three-dimensional works with graphite