As I continue to explore cultural identity questions, the exhibition reflects largely on the idea of life and death. The recent pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, racial injustice, and hate crimes, especially to the Asian community throughout the last year, made me reflect deeply on these issues.
As a society, we experienced death as a collective. Simultaneously, the personal experience of losing my father last year made a significant impact on my perspective on life and death. It was one of the most difficult experiences to see him passing while we took him home with hospice care. I was fortunate to be with my father until the end of his life, but it was also extremely difficult. The rituals in Buddhist traditions made quite an impact on me. I saw my father coming out as a skeleton from the crematory furnace, and we followed the ritual of collecting his bones with my family. The ritual reminds living ones to help the deceased in their next journey of the afterlife. It was an intense experience for me to see him that way. Death has become reality for me. Now, I think about how my life will end on earth, and this question leads to the next question – what should I be doing now?
The exhibition also shares the grieving process. We lost so many loved ones through the pandemic and through violence – I painted an offering series with many flowers for this show. It started with my experience last year in Japan. I bought so many flowers last year, as my mother was obsessed with leaving fresh flowers every day for my father’s altar. The room was occupied with so many flowers for a long time. It helped her and me grieve and heal from the ache of missing him. These bright flowers are an offering to everyone who visits the exhibition