Identity, whether it is individual or cultural, has become a common topic of discussion in recent decades. These discussions are byproducts of the change in environment as advancements in technology promote globalization, communication, and travel, contributing to the creation of the third space and hybridity between interacting cultures. These identities that shift through time impact the world in both positive and negative ways.
This Series, Searching for the Middle Path, places emphasis on anthropological ideas revolving around culture, including preservation, environmental conflicts, and individual identity within the contemporary societies. Through the juxtaposition of symbols that create multi-layered narratives that are reminiscent of Surrealist and Magic Realist paintings, this work attempts to analyze, criticize, and question how community, whether local or global, impacts the perception of the world as a culture while searching for an ideal balance. This ideal is to find the middle path—equilibrium between oppositions—with emphasis on the interrelations of traditional lifestyle and the more contemporary, based on careful consideration of the boundaries of cultural and historical knowledge.
Based on lifestyles that I have experienced in both developed and developing nations of Japan, Samoa, and the United States, I assess various aspects of society through comparisons. These paintings depict my struggle to find the middle path between the significance of tradition and contemporary lifestyles that seem to oppose much of the traditional ways. This body of work represents my search for balance in an attempt to create an ideal third space between traditional and contemporary that will allow for preservation of culture, nature, and development.