My Americans : 1st – 30th Nov. 2016
An Rong Xu
Over a 150 years ago, a few of my ancestors arrived in America, they had journeyed from Taishan
Province in Southern China to what they once called, the Gold Mountain. During the last years of the
failing Qing Dynasty, my ancestors left all they knew in order to find a way to provide for their
families, and the best way to survive was to leave all that they knew in China for a foreign land where
they didn’t speak the language, they would be faced with prejudice, and many unforeseen unknowns.
Flash forward to current day, my extended family has been in America for over four generations, and
my immediate family, just two. Being the child of immigrants I grew up experiencing one culture at
home while having to live another culture when out with friends and at school, this lead to an
understanding of myself as a bicultural individual. At home, I was the Chinese son, having the
responsibility of reading all the english mail for my parents, filling out government forms, and
learning that my existence is an extension of my past and what I do with my life is a reflection on all
those that came before me. At school, I was the Chinese kid who was bullied by the white students,
because I ate noodles, had different shaped eyes, and could speak Chinese. Today, I have learned to
accept who I am, accept my face, and realize what my place is in this Chinese American story.
These photographs I create are the story I share of my experience looking for what it means to be
American and Chinese simultaneously. I began traveling to different states within America at the age
of 19, in pursuit of finding myself, hoping that by meeting other Chinese Americans I could find
solidarity in a shared experiences growing up in this country we call our home. What I ended up
finding was a diverse and confusing social landscape of individuals and places that were unsure of
their identities, lost in the complexities of American life, while also finding thriving and lively
communities that have found their part of the gold mountain. Through these photographs, I explore
the ideas of family, relationships, social constructs, and idea of finding home. Each photograph is an
experience of a place I have been and is a representation of the America that us overseas Chinese
have built for ourselves.
나의 증조부 기군은 1900년대 초반에 미국으로 이주했고 샌프란시스코만의 엔젤 섬에서 매스의 퀸시까지 여행했다. 나 역시 비슷한 여행을 떠났다. 이 때 찍은 사진들은 중국, 미국 문화의 통합 혹은 양극화 현상을 잘 보여주는 화교들의 정서를 탐험하게 해준다. 국가의 사회적 경계에 기여하는 우리의 위치를 예술로 표현하면서 또한 알게 된 사실이 있다. 차이나타운의 길을 배회하던 옛날의 신사들부터 가족, 학교, 사랑의 중심을 찾는 젊은 여성들까지, 내가 포착한 순간들은 화교의 삶에 대한 이야기뿐 아니라 모든 미국인들의 삶이기도 하다는 사실이다.
An Rong Xu’s ongoing photography project, which documents Chinese-American life, is a way for him to process his dual identity. When the now-23-year-old was two, he and his mother left Taishan, China, to join his father and grandparents in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
RAISED IN NEW YORK CITY’S CHINATOWN.
ANRONG XU IS A PHOTOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR BASED IN NEW YORK CITY.
뉴욕의 차이나 타운에서 성장기를 보낸 Anrong Xu는 뉴욕의 사진작가이자 감독이다.