Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Lydia C. Thompson

Second Advisor

Allan Rosenbaum


The awareness of marginality, oppression, and hierarchy at an early age directly influences the creation of work specific to my identity as a woman of color. Born and raised on an island in the Pacific Ocean, I was aware of my sense of location and space relative to the world. The vast ocean separating me from the ‘mainland’ created a specific understanding of marginality, of what is “main” and what is “minor,” and how these categorical placements continued from my youth to ongoing perpetuation. The work I create has a subtle and persistent investigation into my identity as a socio-economic and ethnic minority woman. I attempt to translate and address my identity and cultural significance by creating works that bring about question and dialogue dealing with cultural normative values. My work subtly addresses theories of alienation, burden, heritage, and identity. I use materials and/or focus on importance of materiality to imply an inherent meaning through historical root, core, and/or initial function. Often this function has fixed placement in certain cultures and society. Although the work is visually and conceptually dark in nature, the desired feeling includes a very physical response while coexisting within the installation’s environment. Oppositional Gaze is a video based on my personal experience. I approach making from a lived and ongoing experience that is constant. On an ordinary day, I often witness acts of repression, acts of injustice, and absurd occurrences that are either directed at me or observed toward others. I impose inner turmoil upon myself of whether or not I shall respond or absorb what I have witnessed. These experiences have emerged at a time in my life, in a place I considered to be a dislocation of my physical presence in relation to my constant neighbor, with a metaphysical questioning of placement. The video is a visual and auditory whisper that reflects my internalized struggle. These true encounters of questions, statements, and name-calling were specifically chosen to address this reality on a large screen, symbolic to the hovering subjection of prejudices and stereotypes that resonate within me. These encounters are unexpected, yet not surprising when they happen due to the frequency of their occurrence.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

Included in

Fine Arts Commons