Echo is a new, evolving body of work that addresses family history in an investigative manner. The name is taken from the newspaper my great grandfather founded in Hawaii in 1897, The Kona Echo. The project combines newly created photographs with existing, older elements: stories, family pictures and artifacts. I’m interested in both gathering family history and adding to it, creating a narrative that is both archival in nature, but also fluid.
The first work produced for the series was a video, Yuki’s Album, in which I presented the 58 pages from a photo album that belonged to my maternal grandmother, who I never met. Working with the structure of the album has informed Echo, as I now see the family photo album as a metaphor for family history in a larger sense: photo albums contain evidence and documentation, but also missing elements, characters known and unknown, places familiar and unidentified. The photo album as archival object can tell a story, but it’s never
a complete one.
I grew up as an Asian American living in a white Midwestern suburb. While the specific elements that will make up Echo are deeply personal to my family’s history in Wisconsin, Hawaii, Washington state and Japan, I’m drawn to the larger subject of American ethnic clarity, and stories of migration and place. American stories may be unique and differ in regards to places of origin and reasons for immigration or displacement, but I’m hoping that viewers may find ways to make connections with this work and their own ancestral paths.