You might know that Immigrant Me was a solo exhibit at the Fresno Art Museum, January – June 2018 (above photo). It featured 25 hand-drawn portraits, each with a short biography of the person. I aimed to share the positive side of immigration and I feel great about the result. Yet, upon the conclusion of the exhibit, I felt a void because I wanted to continue sharing stories. Drawing requires a long-time, of course. Each portrait took 50-80 hours, for example. Because I was already working on a big project featuring life-size drawings of the whole figure, I switched to photography in order to continue efficiently with Immigrant Me. I’m thrilled that more stories are being shared. Now, Immigrant Me is a documentary photography. It consists of two parts: a photo session and an interview. The subjects chose who they wish to be represented through my lens. They also decide what part of their immigrant experiences they wish to share with us. In 2021, this second part of Immigrant Me will exhibit in museums and galleries throughout California.
My goal is to promote the humanity of naturalized Americans. Beyond obtaining a piece of paper that identifies us as Americans, we weave ourselves into the fabric of this country, expanding the meaning of what an American is as it has been done for generations. Indeed, America was built by immigrants and we still help shape the future of this country.
We are Americans but not by birth. Not by chance. We chose to become American. Before coming here, we had a different life. Once in the United States, we all had an adjustment period, which never really ends, no matter how much American we become. There’s always a struggle to adjust, to fit in, to be understood, to somehow retain a sense of our roots. Also, we each have a story about how we got here and why. Immigrant Me explores the immigrant’s experience, which is tattered with pain, fear, adjustment, courage, adventure, resolve and success.
*You comments and questions are welcomed below. Thank you!