© 2020 Sue Jeong Ka
Picture Brides without Pictures, 2017
Graphite, ID stickers (typeface: Optima)
Picture Brides without Pictures is a temporary monument that commemorates the Asian female immigrants who arrived in the US in the early 20th century to become wives of Asian plantation farmworkers. By presenting the immigrants’ textual identification, not photo – that is a representation of their ethnic and racial appearance, the project emphasizes the layers of mediation and cultural translation enacted on these individuals’ identities as they adapted to survive in a new national context. The commissioned/forged hologram US ID stickers index the state apparatus that legitimate these women as documented citizens, yet by obtaining these stickers from a manufacturer in China, I subversively signal how such markers of state of identification are always constructed.
Special thanks to Hidetaka Hirota (Historian, Boston College/CCNY), Michael E. Macmillan (University of Hawaii), and Kim Bobier (Art historian, Pratt Institute).