You are not speaking, but I am listening. (2013-2015)
In the struggle to adapt to reality, it is easy to lose one’s self. We build a life under that reality, only to realize that it does not fit the person we had thought we were. I believe that art allows us to see the relationship between life and the self from another perspective. Sometimes, it does this by allowing us to empathize with others, to encounter their point of view. Other times, our perspective is changed by a “clash” with the other — we are disturbed or provoked by the artwork.
I moved to New York five years ago to live as an artist. The constant upheaval of my life—this “clash”—forced me to re-examine everything. I had completely lost myself. I could not stand again.
I had thought I was right and just needed to say that I was not wrong. But what I was realizing as the time passed was that I was only fighting with myself. I struggled to change my ways, which had built up through years of habit. Nobody is wrong. May be the struggle will never ends in our life.
I started my “Midori” project when I came to live in New York. “Midori” is a very common female Japanese name. It points to universal experience of struggle. Since 2013, I have made more than 50 portraits of Asian women in New York for this project. This “Midori” of my project has come to New York for a new career, or to make a new way of life. She was educated or worked in Korea, or Japan, or China. And her struggle is not just from this new culture, but from trying to balance the traditional ways of being female in Asia and the modern, global, and Western ways of her environment, her new reality. And at the same time, she must also struggle with personal relationships. The stronger our ego, the more difficult it is to understand other’s ideas. I came to realize that.
As an artist, I want my art to be a window into myself, a way for people to empathize or clash.