Still Life

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For my piece, I wanted to make something that depicted no matter how much the city tries to displace and rob our communities, there is Still [Life] (the title of the piece and play-on words) that continues to grow, build, strengthen and resist together amidst the violence and destruction. During the process of making this piece, the visual that kept popping into my head were plants growing through cement and walls. It is something that I have always been mesmerized by and found comforting because somehow these plants are able to grow, have their needs met through invisible helpers, and thrive even when it seems impossible, which reminds me so much of the community within Chinatown. With that thought, I decided I wanted to make something out of clay and embroidery: a hand-built vase similar to the porcelain vases you would find in Chinatown, but instead of it being perfect, it would be broken. And peeking through those broken spaces would be a scene illustrated by threads of people coming together to pot plants, lit with a warm light from within the vase to evoke a feeling of hope. What’s so special about the embroidery in particular is that it was made with discarded fabric and thread from the factory my mother works at which I wanted to highlight as a way to pay homage to the people of Chinatown, as well as my parents who, similarly to many living in Chinatown, are immigrants working hard labor jobs. This piece was built from a place of deep love for my parents and the people of Chinatown.  

Video Description: A 360-degree rotating video of a hand-built broken white vase painted with a delicate royal blue pattern of curved lines and flowers that wraps around its form against a black backdrop. A colorful embroidered warm scene of people potting plants peeks through the broken parts of the vase and is backlit with a warm golden light from the inside of the vase. The vase itself stands at 22cm tall on a rounded black platform with broken bits of clay surrounding it. The vase is narrow at the bottom and its sides gently curve outward until they reach their widest point just below the neck. There are four diamond shaped cracks lying in the rounded middle section of the vase, three of which are large that lay next to each other, and one small crack at the back of the vase. There is a large triangular slit on one side of the vase that runs from the top lip and narrows to a point just below the neck and 6cm away from it is a smaller triangular slit that narrows to a point just under the lip. Peeking through the diamond shaped cracks is a detailed embroidered scene of people gathered together on the floor in pinks, reds, purple, black, and brown potting big green leafy plants in orange pots. The scene is lit with a warm glowing light from inside the vase that illuminates and makes the room feel warm and filled with new hope.