Izzy Leung is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from San Diego, CA, Leung graduated from Bard College in 2017 with degrees in photography and literature. The paternal side of her family is from the East Coast, so upon moving her interest in family lineage and recorded history deepened. Her work is centered around themes of erasure, family, and multiculturalism. She is currently inspired by folk painting, soap operas, and southern literature.
Can’t you eat the rind?
YAKE WUN THE ONLY SON TO CONTINUE TO RECORD THE FAMILY TREE HISTORY. HE USE RED INK TO SHOW OUR LINEAGE.
My Chinese side of the family has a lush history dating back to 220 B.C. Yet, I am not discernibly a part of it. Our family scroll carefully documenting each generation solely includes men, therefore I am not present on it, neither are my aunts, or my great grandmother, or anyone preceding her. My brother is on the scroll, although we are both only 1⁄4 Chinese. Will his children who might be 1/8 Chinese, be present on it? Will their 1/16 children? Does it matter as long as they carry the Leung last name, and as long as they are not women?
This project is an attempt to reconcile a part of me that day-to-day I feel disconnected from. I am white-passing, with a Chinese last name that often garners the question, “where are you from?”
An article published in the New York Times that addresses the multicultural experience states, “You’re also accustomed to the idea of having several selves, and of trying to forge them into something whole. That task of self-creation isn’t unique to biracial people; it’s a defining experience of modernity. Once the old stories about God and tribe — the framing that historically gave our lives context — become inadequate, on what do we base our identities? How do we give our lives meaning and purpose?” Through these photographs I am investigating my own experience of multi-racialness in America, by constructing moments often displayed before a curtain, as if on a stage.
There are those who are written in and those who are written out of history. Using photography, I am attempting to rewrite myself back into the history of my family. To visually stand for the Leung women, those who have been the vessel for the continuing of our family, but who have been excluded from the record. A photograph can stand as a document of proof—one just as relevant as a scroll.
To view more of Izzy Leung’s work please visit their website.