Flo Oy Wong kindly invited me to make a pie for her 75 x 75 installation in honor of her 75th birthday. The show will take place at the Luggage Store Gallery in mid-November and will feature "pies" made by 75 different artists. Flo's instructions are to create pies that tell the extraordinary story of an ordinary person or address the deconstruction of stereotypes that have impeded our lives.
My recent driving trip in Pennsylvania gave me some time to ponder over what to create and who to feature. I was on my way to celebrate the life of a good friend who passed away in 2011. I had been making several art pieces to process the long friendship we had, the years of letters and postcards that changed hands. I just couldn't imagine making a pie about her.
But another close friend who died less than 5 months after my Pennsylvania friend was a possibility. She loved food, and much of our time was spent exploring restaurants and cooking. Like myself, she was Eurasian. Unlike me, her parents were displaced from their homes, their comfortable colonial lives disrupted. They went from being wealthy to refugees. Their lives in the new country never went beyond lower middle class. Still, my friend grew up rich with stories of opulence, adventures, memories of survival and accomplishments. And the complexity of being "half" plays a part in her life. She identified with the European side of her heritage, minimized the Asian. But she was conscious that her skin color, a lovely golden brown, prevented complete acceptance by fair-skinned Caucasians.
I just took the first steps towards assembling her delicious life. Yesterday I purchased a stoneware pie pan at Goodwill. I cut up wafer liners for chocolate boxes into pie slices. What will fill the spaces in between? Will the blackness of the wafers dictate my color palette? Or will they simply be fillers for my friend's multi-hued life?
white marker, double-sided tape, scissors, black paint, glue stick