Rust from my father and grandfather’s tools on silk, 2018, dimensions variable.

This work examines my relationship to ideas of labor and production through generations of my family. Using tools that have been passed down to me from my father and grandfather, I dye the silk fabric with the imprint the objects leave behind. These materials consist of items such as my father’s loppers, the ones he used to prune acres of perennials every day for 28 years, my grandfather’s sledgehammer that he would use to break down foundations, along with his hammer that would create new ones. All of these objects become placeholders for memory and a way to document their absence and presence in my life. In both generations of my family, these tools are a symbol for the work they did to support their families, and to offer a better life than the ones they were given when they first emigrated from the Philippines. The work they did in maintaining acres of fields, and the deterioration of these objects is a representation of the invisibility that comes with manual labor. The way the rust from the tools leaves its own mark onto the silk allows these objects to become archived and memorialized. As the metal alloys from the rust begin to eat away at the silk, the prints will slowly shift and change throughout the piece, creating new images and marks. Just as time deteriorates memory, I look at this work as a living landscape of their lives.