Let’s make a deal-Your face
Painted photo, Vintage briefcase 

In the series Let’s Make a Deal I explore my difficult and complex relationship with my traditionalist father, which reached a Flash point of contention when I came out as a lesbian in 2022. We are both born and raised in Taiwan, but we have profoundly different perspectives on life. Each section of this work represents a process through which I have been rebuilding my relationship with him, using photography as a kind of “currency” through which he and I can relate.

This body of work is organized in five sections and is based on his frequent absence during my formative years, due to his work manufacturing and selling car parts. The lack of an emotional bond between father and daughter was aggravated by my self-discovery as a lesbian in as a young child. I quickly understood that I was to remain silent about my true self, which led to further isolation.Through Let’s Make a Deal I am trying to bridge that gap and reach out to him.

The first part of the work is anchored by smartphone sized photos hung on the wall in linear groups, called T/T (Telegraphic transfer). These pictures show cities around the United States, including Chicago, that my father visited on business. By taking these photographs, I retrace his steps and try to find places of familiarity to share with him. After I send these photos, I imagine him zooming in out after receiving these photos to more closely examine certain elements. I use these photos as currency, exchanging these images for his stories as well as his attention.

My father drove me to school everyday for twelve years. The car was a space of uncertain silence, mixed with a sense of parental care but also a sense of teenage angst. This car door, covered with photographs fashioned with different textures, point to different possibilities: different kinds of pasts and futures.

As with many cities, rivers cut through the industrial cities my father visited for work (/on business). A vessel like a canoe is a way to travel through those places. Because my vessel is made of fungal mycelia, it is made up physically of millions of small relationships and connections, with the cultivation of the fungi demanding my care rather than my manipulation. As the photographs embedded within the vessel are consumed by the mycelia, they become a part of it; as I work with my friends to grow the vessel, we become more a part of each other.

After I experienced a break up in 2022, I wanted the support from my father. This meant coming out to him, and he trying to come to terms with his new understanding of me. Through the gesture of painting my father’s portrait, I feel like an archaeologist dusting off the past and revealing my feelings to him. At the same time, it also gives me the opportunity to consider each of his photos in greater detail, despite the fact that we currently  live continents apart from each other.