Onus (break), 2018
Onus (break), 2018, single channel looped video, colour, no sound, 16:9, 3:08min
In the homes of my family there are altars to those who have left us. Ancestral worship is a significant part of Vietnamese culture, with shrines adorned with photographs, fruit, flowers, ‘ghost money’ and incense.
In this exhibition I examine the idea of the mantle: the passing on of traditions, hopes and duties. I have been thinking on the ‘role’ of the children of migrants and how our parents sacrificed so much for a better life. A parent's hopes and dreams for the next generation become amplified in the diaspora.
I reflect on my own life, and the conflict I have between living a life that makes my family proud and living my truth. How do I reconcile these elements and carry the mantle for my family? How do I live a life that is both authentic, and honouring of their journey?
My struggle to resolve this really manifested itself as I struggled to make this work, finding the topic alarmingly (and frustratingly) unapproachable. I saw creating the work as a task in honour itself: revealing the true weight of the responsibility.
I construct my own altar. Each piece is carefully placed, but the altar unravels, revealing the constructed set. In this work I question, but I don’t find any answers.
The Family Mantle curated by Pia Johnson presents a series of photographic responses to notions of the family. Through the exploration of memory, archive, and photography, the artworks sift through the cultural and social constructs of familial relations and the role of the individual within them.
Featuring new works by Sofi Basseghi, Katayoun Javan, Janelle Low, Morganna Magee, Andy Mullens, Talia Smith and Pia Johnson.
Onus (break) was created for the exhibition The Family Mantle curated by Pia Johnson.
The Family Mantle opened on 22 September 2018 at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Victoria. Artists featured: Sofi Basseghi, Katayoun Javan, Janelle Low, Morganna Magee, Andy Mullens, Talia Smith and Pia Johnson. Curated by Pia Johnson.