JENCLARE B. GAWARAN
ARTIST STATEMENT //
My work is the result of much personal and internal research about my identity. Having been born and raised in the suburbs of the Midwest, I grew up within the bubble of an ideal and romanticized American childhood. We basically had the green lawn and white picket fence, I was taught all about our Founding Fathers and George Washington admitting to chopping down that cherry tree, and my summers were spent taking family road trips across the United States. Although I knew my family was different than those of my Caucasian friends, I didn’t put much thought into my Filipino background.
I can’t put my finger on what got me started on creating work about my cultural identity, but little by little, I started remembering childhood memories of experiences and objects that centered around my background. At first, my work generally explored my identity as an Asian-American. Over the years, my images have gradually become more specific, originating from my personal experiences, rather than touching on general ideas about the cultural group I tend to be classified in.
I work with the printmaking process because I find the medium to be the most fluid with my thought and creative processes. The fact that one can almost infinitely recreate the same image in printmaking is also interesting to me. As a Suburban child, I was surrounded by the same duplicated houses in my neighborhood. Through serigraph, chine colle, collage and drawing, I layer and combine visual cues and symbolism of cultural identity and gender expectations to create auto-biographical work. Images of Filipino textile patterns and trinkets, combined with stereotypical symbols of Filipino, Asian and American culture, work together to create scenes that either stem from my childhood memories or reflect how I think I fit into and between these cultures and identities. My work is honest – it’s simply the result of me trying to make sense of past memories, experiences and thoughts. The process of creating my work has become a vehicle for personal reflection, and helps me better understand what has shaped me to be the person I am today.