JenClare B. Gawaran
The pursuit to understand my cultural identity is perpetual. The more I learn about my place between Western and Eastern cultures, the more questions I continue to search answers for. As a Filipino-American born and raised in the Midwest, my work is the result of my research to understand how these cultures have shaped the person I am today. In recent years, my work has focused on general stereotypes and expectations of me: as an Asian, a Filipina, an American and a female. I explore how I either conform to or defy these ideas. In effort to confront these stereotypes and expectations, my work resulted in imagery that was satirical and ironic.
My search for cultural identity remains a constant in my work, but recently, I have been introducing several influences which are more specific to this current stage in my life. I’ve focused very much on my current and past relationships. Choices I’ve made, whether of my own will or molded from expectations of others, have impacted these relationships. In turn, they have affected who I am now. It is not my intention to dwell on these choices, since they are said and done, and now I am bound by them. I feel creating these pieces are a way to both mourn my past relationships and celebrate new ones.
Culture and relationships, though dominant ideas in my work, are not the only influences here. Various little infatuations often infiltrate my thoughts: language and communication, letter-forms and typography, even vague childhood memories of an endless array of Merry Melodies. Naturally, all these manage to surface into my imagery. Some of these ideas help me further reflect on my background, while others are downright silly. In either case, I welcome these additions to my work, as they represent different facets of my character.