I am interested in creating a sense of longing, a desire for something unattainable. As a Filipino American growing up in the predominantly white suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, I grew up with a sense of otherness and learned from an early age that social constructs create the unattainable: unattainable beauty, unattainable relationships, unattainable satisfaction, unattainable consumption, unattainable power. This was particularly acute for someone who could (at best) only appropriate “whiteness.” In many ways, I exemplified the defining characteristic of Filipino culture - one of assimilation and a sense of privilege on the margins. In college, I studied how media can amplify, reflect, and influence those social constructs, and as a result I became aware of the alienation individuals experience through cultural coding and discursive signifiers.
Perhaps it’s a generational gap or racial prejudice, maybe it’s a language barrier or sexual repression, or most likely it’s simply a gap in resources, time, money and class - regardless of how we break apart, the goal I’m aiming for in my work is to transcend the endless distances that separate my characters. People reaching for each other despite circumstances they believe are beyond their control. In the end their aspirations are probably futile, but the gesture is incredibly revealing of one’s humanity. And, I believe that in projecting that humanity, there is a reassertion of power and rebellion against that which we have made unattainable.