My current work addresses a hybrid cultural identity that I recognize in myself and throughout my generation. I was born in Southern California into a Dutch-Indonesian-American household. The loose self-definition in my family made it possible to have flexible belief systems and customs. Many of my generation whose families are cultural hybrids find their way to an ever-changing cultural identity. We live not just by the traditions from which we come but the unique paths we traverse. We are less aggressive about our place in the multicultural dialog than previous generations, having never experienced just one identity or the pressures of accompanying stereotypes. Our hybrid identities are still born from dislocation, but the strife has been either left behind or ignored.
In my most recent work, I revive previously dormant cultural histories and aesthetic traditions from my Indonesian heritage as a way to acknowledge that part of my identity. I’m learning my forebears’ traditional crafts of batik and woodcarving, employing Javanese and Eurasian-specific imagery into my practice as a conceptual link to my heritage, while further pushing the crafts outside traditional boundaries. In an age of increasing automation, the handmade is significant to these crafts and in my own work as well. These experiments with batik and wood carving take history head-on by questioning the use of iconography and the historical image in the present day, suggesting a return to a lo-fi aesthetic in an age of high-definition. With images informed by a Western childhood and education, I misappropriate and mutate craft traditions outside their prescribed abstract designs into hybrid forms. Successful work is predicated on the capacity of the batik and carvings to be viewed from different, and oftentimes conflicting, vantages. These conflicts do not call for resolution but for reconciliation and adaption, as I have indeed embodied them my entire life: East and West, local and tourist, authentic and illegitimate.