“I Forgive You,” steel, 2019.
This piece is an olive branch, a gesture of peace from me to my late father. It is important for artists to constantly self-check and look introspectively at their anger in order to sort it out. I have a confusing relationship with the memory of my father, who died of cancer when I was 14 years old. My dad came to the United States as an immigrant in 1980 with only $10.00 in his pocket and not one word of English. He fought feverishly not only to survive but to succeed. In essence, he also became very hard on me while growing up and did not see art as a prestigious means of success. When I was little, the first thing I wanted to do when I grew up was to become an artist, but that was forcibly silenced when I was 12 and did not come to life again until I was 22. I could hate him for that, but I choose not to. I know where he came from and that his life perspective was much different than mine is, so I not only forgive him, but I understand. This olive branch has 14 leaves, each leaf symbolizing a year that I shared with him, and each year that I forgive him is as strong as steel. I love him and will continuously uphold what he sacrificed for my mom, my sister, his family, and me.
Thank you, dad.