Screenprinted manilla paper, 4.5 in x 5 in

A New Tradition

Mixed Media

There is an enduring custom of stigma and shame associated with mental health in the Asian Canadian community. Misinformation and superstition perpetuate a tradition of isolation and silence. Through recontextualizing traditional spiritual practices and objects, this work attempts to create a ritualized performance that normalizes mental health conversations and self-care practices.

Lasercut plywood, 9 in x 15 in
Traditionally joss sticks are lit at the beginning of spiritual practices to ward away evil spirits and open lines of communication between  the living and the dead. In my work, they are used to open lines of communication with oneself. Featuring prompts to incite honest inner reflection, they are tools to contemplate previous experiences and future desires.

Burning joss papers is a practice used to pay respect to loved ones and deities in the spirit world. The papers balance on the edge of the real and unreal and are burned as vessels for hopes, wishes, and desires. The act of burning transforms them into tangible objects.

In this project, they are vessels for self-care. As there is a give and take relationship between worshipper and spirit, there is a relationship between one’s past, present, and future self. Allowing yourself to release burdens and establish future commitments on paper solidifies them and makes them placeholders for these intangible experiences and desires.