ON VIEW: SEPTEMBER 12–OCTOBERT 21, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE CUMMINGS ART CENTER
Costume and installation
The artist’s mother’s garments and cremains, paperclay, metal, and structural elements
8½ × 8½ × 10 feet

Ei·do·lon /īˈdōlən/ noun
• an idealized person or thing.
• a specter or phantom.
-Oxford University Press

A-Ngoh (啊娥)
• the informal name my mother’s generation called her in their native Chinese dialect.

Eidolon of A-Ngoh, animates what remains of my mother Peggy Chen’s life (her cremains) and her identity (her clothing), by creating a new phantom of A-Ngoh, as both a gallery installation and a costume for performance. Here, I am processing the death of the person who once gave me life, and the many lives she had led.

Each mask represents a certain phase of her life. To make them, I folded her cremains into paper clay, and looked at images of her to mold to her likeness. With each mask, I found myself hearing her voice, recalling the stories she told me of that phase of her life. The countless arguments I had with her also resurfaced while I was moulding. But while working with her cremains with my hands, I found peace and forgiveness. Forgiveness for the times my mother faulted me and also forgiving myself for wishing I could have done more for her. So making these masks not only helped me create physical portrayals of my mother’s past lives, but it also helped me empathize with her. This empathy also contributes to the performance “In Between”,  where I wear the costume and portray my mother in the liminal space between life and death; where the mind withdraws from the physical body, and lives its past selves as one, during the last moments within.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
In Between will be performed at the reception for “The Will to Change: Gathering as Praxis” on October 1, 2022 at Cummings Art Gallery at Conn College.

In Between has also been performed at Silpe Gallery of the Hartford Art School and was followed by Q&A and open discussion on death and grief, with guest Christine Talbott, LCPC. Many thanks to Christine for donating her time and professional experience as a therapist.
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