Refuge

The immigrant, entangled with feelings of fear, and the desire to attain order in a world where they often find themselves fleeing from chaos. These disparate feelings are captured through the use of familiar objects placed in a discordant environment.


Throughout my life, my mother has used clear vinyl to cover the furniture in our home to protect it from wear and tear. The vinyl would only be removed when guests would come over. Using this act of protection and preservation as a metaphor, I meticulously wrapped domestic items in the same clear vinyl. Couches, rugs, clocks, curtains, and plants become separated from familiarity and, instead, encapsulate a paradox; each is guarded and sheltered by its covering, yet suffocated in its entrapment. Hand-sewn gold thread connects and binds the clear vinyl to the objects, an adornment, and act that is both tedious and attentive. Domestic items act as stand-ins for immigrant bodies and their internal state of discomfort and contradiction. These experienced traumas are either byproduct of systems we bring with us from the countries we fled or reactions to the hostile conditions imposed on us in the country we fled to. A tension between traditionalism and modernity emerges in Refuge. It infers a palpable testimony of human presence in a fragile, brutal life that immigrants endure when creating a home away from home.