Reading is migratory, an act of transport, from one life to another, one mind to another. Just like geographic travel, reading involves estrangement that comes with the process of dislocating from a familiar context. I gather energy from this kind of movement, this estranging and unsettling, and I welcome it precisely because it’s conducive to examination, interrogation, reordering. Travel, imaginative or physical, can sharpen perception and force a measuring of distance and difference.
I was loitering on the edge for so long, never thinking that I had the courage to do it, and I still feel very hesitant all the time about whether I belong here, whether I should be doing this. I’ve learned that doubt is a source of energy. You don’t have to be always certain. We live in a culture that fetishizes certainty. “What’s your stance? What’s your position?” As a writer, luckily, I don’t have to have a stance. I just have to have questions, and I get to build a landscape where I get to explore them. We’re complicated. We are hurricanes in a way, you know?
- Ocean Vuong
To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then, is to provoke thoughts about one’s own interior landscape, and the familiar landscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves.
∆ Barry Lopez, from Arctic Dreams (Bantam, 1986)
The assortment of irregular lines etched into the skin of your face are letters of the secret alphabet that tell the story of who you are, because each scar is the imprint of a healed wound, and each wound was the result of an unexpected collision with the world.
Medium Studio and Family Style present in partnership Abundantly, an exhibition that highlights the abundant nature of narratives and practices of artists and designers of Asian / Pacific Islander heritage, sharing Utah roots now or previously. Abundantly is co-curated by Jay Li, graphic designer for the Utah Jazz, and Jenny Fu, founder of Family Style. The exhibition will be on view at Medium Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah from May 14 to May 20, 2022. Medium Studio is located in the heart of Sugar House, a historic neighborhood in Salt Lake City known for artistic and cultural activity.
The Asian and Pacific Islander experience in the US and Utah is often minimized and rendered invisible by this country. Placing unique and distinct cultures in one contained acronym ‘AAPI’ has perpetuated a ‘scarcity’ dynamic and ‘perpetual foreigner’ role. This has led to erasure, otherness, and loneliness in our communities, creating more dissonance of identity.
Referencing the freshness and vibrance found in bustling markets and streets of many of our mother countries, we recognize a deep resilience that we can tap into within our respective cultures. Abundantly draws inspiration from the adverb form of abundance, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, degree and memory. Abundantly does not represent a fixed state, but rather an ongoing action of abundance set at a specific moment of our lives. Reclaiming abundance is a step towards solidarity, honoring the beauty in our cultures, lineages and cross-generational love.
Where do you find abundance in your cultures? Does your abundance manifest in joy, anger, pain, nostalgia, relief, or hope? How can you process an abundance of self before you tend to community? How can your (personal) body relate to your (communal) body? How do we abundantly build structures of safety and support for each other?
The selected work features 12 A/PI visual artists and graphic designers who work across a range of media to explore these questions of how their practices and narratives begin to embody Abundantly. The exhibition opens up alternate paths to safely navigate societal traditions and cultures—where our art can be confidently made for and by us. Curated with communal love, Abundantly gently honors its past and present to dream of a future that formulates new ways of healing, connection, and safety in our society.
The curators acknowledge that the works by no means form a complete picture of the nuanced and complex narratives experienced by Asians and Pacific Islanders, but rather continue building conversation and knowledge through the exchange of art and culture