These collages involving old family photos are my way of seeking to join the disparate pasts of my bi-cultural roots, from which I am largely estranged.
The photographs are old enough that the people who knew those depicted in the most recent of them are quite advanced in age.
The photographs speak of a time more foreign than distant lands; a time of imperialism, industry tycoons, plantations, samurai, speakeasy’s, privilege, and world war.
They represent the legacy of two families separated by a vast ocean who had no idea that one day their destinies would intersect.
I try to make sense of these faces that peer out through a sepia haze.
They were signifiers of memory once, but as those memories fade away they become free radicals, relevant to me only by the names scrawled on their backs and the albums from which they have fallen.
Like the early paleontologists assembling the first dinosaur skeletons, I must use my imagination to fill in the gaps, taking liberties to build narratives coherent to me.
These old photos are combined with other photos gleaned from thrift shops, garage sales, and photos I have taken myself, to help me understand who I am in the surreal context of America.
I am constructing a narrative of my ancestry that is imagined and fanciful, but it is my own.