The tension of contemporary life exists as a paradox: In an era of increasing migration, both forced and chosen, we are at once radically global and yet culturally divided. As an artist with international experiences, I have personally navigated national and cultural displacement.
For these reasons, I explore the very concepts of home and territory. My fundamental research question asks whether producing art as a global citizen can influence civic engagement and personal stability in a new territory. Specifically, I aim to discover whether making body-sized clay dwellings - a space of one’s own both literally and figuratively - can strengthen psychological resolve for those experiencing cultural displacement.
The fulfilment of my research is dependent on executing my methodology. For my research to be successful, I will use only local clay from London. Most newly arriving Asians take root in metropolitan areas like London, so creating habituated clay structures from this urban area helps subside feelings of displacement. Using local clay from a new place allows me to make my mark in my pieces and claim a sense of ownership in what was once unfamiliar. By infusing ritualistic actions, such as body imprints onto sculpture, my sense of ownership over the place will be further strengthened. Moreover, witnessing my ritualistic imprints may also benefit those experiencing feelings of foreignness.
After extracting local clay from the city, I begin testing the materials. The processes of better understanding these materials allow me to become comfortable with the clay I am using. This sense of comfort frees me to craft habituated structures for the benefit of a displaced Asian audience.
While my work is aimed at helping Asians overcome cultural and territorial displacement, it also has potential to provide a sense of place for wider audiences, as well.