“I promised to write down some of my memories of our lives together: yours, mine, your mum’s. But the ‘storage system’ above our eyes is definitely not like a computer. A particularly important moment can sometimes be recalled or suddenly remembered in odd and usually quiet places. Random? A little. Truthful? Completely. I will try to write again another time.” - Father
My life is formed by the ongoing exploration of my identity as a Japanese Australian, and the impacts of family, history, and generational trauma from immigration. This exploration has recently led me to read letters written to me by my father. These letters often omit certain memories, or reveal how my own interpretation and experience of those memories differ from his. I examine how moments in our past often interact with each other, and create an incomplete, imperfect yet complex construction of who we are; the alluring fractures of memory.
Milk Flower, named after the common flora Snowdrop, explores the endless oscillation and visual unravelling between the stories we’re given, and how we understand them. In my childhood home located in Gembrook, Victoria, the Snowdrop is often the first flower to emerge in sporadic outbursts similar to the memoried fragments of our past. The Milk Flowers themselves mirror the experience of reclaiming my memory: they have a medicinal quality of treating Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Beginning with anecdotes, I reprocessed and interacted with archival images, as well as capturing photographs around the home and natural surroundings in which I grew up, reconstructing scenes from my family album.
It explores the various ways tangible explorations of the world spark the illusive, and how often the unravelling of memories is unclear, felt and always different depending on our perspective of events. This work seeks most of all to illustrate the way my father and I have constructed our own interpretations of my childhood experience.
Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Fitzroy, AUS
Speculative Horizons, Contemporary Art Platform (CAP), Kuwait City, KUW
Australian Photography Awards Exhibition, Abbotsford, AUS
Wolfhound Gallery, Fitzroy, AUS
Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Collingwood, AUS
Finalist for Australian Photography Awards, 2022
Shortlisted for Australian Photobook Awards, 2022
Formerly named 'Enso' for the photobook below.
Text in the book:
In Zen, ensō (円宮, “circular form”) is a circle that is hand-drawn in one uninterrupted brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create and is a sacred symbol sometimes meaning circle of togetherness. It is traditionally drawn as a meditative practice in letting go of the mind and allowing the body to create, as the singular brushstroke allows for no modifications.
While at first glance, the ensō symbol appears no more than a misshapen circle, it symbolises many things: the beauty in imperfection, the art of letting go of expectations, the circle of life, and connection. The ensō is a manifestation of the artist at the moment of creation and the acceptance of our innermost self.
The very imperfections and contours that otherwise prevent a perfect circle from being created are exactly what makes the ensō beautiful.