As part of the critically-acclaimed MOCA exhibition America through a Chinese Lens (April – September9, 2012), a survey of photographs depicting American life as shot by Chinese and Chinese American artists, documentary photographers and non-professionals, we used MOCA’s tumblr page, Scrapbook MOCA, to expand on the show’s themes and engage with our online audiences.
During the run of the show, new media artist and design strategist An Xiao shot and posted photographs regularly as she traveled throughout the west and southwest, offering a live visual essay about her America on our tumblr page. Inspired by that project, we surveyed our staff and volunteers for reflections on their America as seen through a family photograph. Here’s a photo in the series My America from Gerald Lam, one of our Young Professionals:
I was surprised to find this picture on my parents’ mantle. Not just because their spartan aesthetic rarely includes wall decor. But because it was a rare display of emotion. A subdued, quiet display but a display nonetheless. On the left is their recently remodeled home. On the right is the house as it stood for over 50 years. In their own controlled way my parents are proud. Proud that, finally, after decades of hardship and sacrifice, they’ve “made it” - the home was and is the grand token of success for many Chinese immigrants. I often wonder what that token is for my generation.