Before my bed, a pool of moonlight
(After 靜夜思 - 李白)
Oil on canvas, 7’ x 4’
This work is a biomythography, using poetry and imagination to fill in the blanks in my memory and understanding of my early childhood. In it, I grapple with how to represent a painful, powerful relationship to my grandfather, who I owe so much to. I credit him with nurturing my intellectual curiosity and confidence. He was my father figure. There were nights, however, during which he would drink too much and grow angry. Before his fit of rage began, my mother and grandmother, represented in the work by distinguishable characteristics of Buddhist figures, would rush me into the bedroom to protect me from seeing him in this altered state. But no matter how many blankets they threw over my head, I could see their tears, and I could hear the muffled sounds of my mother’s crying with the sounds of dishes smashing in the kitchen which was only a few feet away in our small one-bedroom apartment. In the piece, I show my love and fear for this monumental figure of my life. Carrying the narrative throughout are fragmented pieces of silverware and animals of the Chinese zodiac. Representing my spiritual state are the rabbits running precariously away from the illuminated kitchen. The snakes represent my grandmother, an omnipresent force in the family, the only person who could challenge my grandfather and temper his anger. 

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