Spring 2024

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Thesis Committee Chair

Astri Snodgrass, MFA

Thesis Committee Members

Jon Sadler, MFA; Kate Walker, MFA; and Craig Peariso, PhD

Artist's Statement

With my work I explore the formation of identity through displacement and reckoning with the past. As a descendant of hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I have inherited sets of complex lived experiences tied to migration, loss, and trauma. Through the use of traditional Japanese materials, I show an attempt at bridging my exterior and interior identities. My use of these materials becomes an act of translation of my lived and inherited experience as I reverse their traditional expectations. My work is not a reflection of Japanese or Japanese American culture, but rather speaks of the journey I take in understanding identity. With my video and text works, I take fragments, just as they are often revealed in conversation, and intertwine them with memories. I tell my narratives through the lens of a descendant, processing stories and reading between the lines. I take a personal and confessional approach, trying to make sense of seemingly inconceivable family histories. I want participants to feel like they know my family, lessening the barrier between them and a not-so-distant past. With the passage of time, age, and gaps in understanding between generations, the understanding of what is real becomes blurred.

Maxwell_Hallie_2024_MFA_Thesis_Alternate_Heirlooms.pdf (5784 kB)
Alternate Heirlooms - Thesis Paper

Alternate Heirlooms

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