Edwin Macaraeg

The Disambiguation of Asian-American History

Historical events such as the Korean War, and the Battle of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines, are told to us through a variety of media.  These‘truths’ are often dependent upon the publication of a western/first world agency.  A thorough research of a subject from different political or cultural angles may lead to an even greater realization of the truth despite a pre-existing allegory.

My experience as an Asian-American has led to my investigations of how and why misconceptions and other social patterns can be traced to particular historical events.  By conducting personal interviews of families directly affected and involved, finding articles written from multiple sources, and researching U.S. history books, I discovered that the aftermath of such calamities creates anxiety amidst the immigrants that have endured the harshness of cultural identity and politics.

In an attempt to better understand these events, a more sympathetic approach is required.  With the use of photographs, we may witness only one aspect of these experiences as the architect of the image presents them.  As we become aware of the full story, we immediately begin to develop a more informed, compassionate and non-conforming interpretation.

In these works, I have manipulated images of key moments from the heritage of the Asian-American experience from the perspective of a contemporary Asian-American, creating layers of information to redefine significant events critical to the development of our history as a nation.  I intuitively create visual reinterpretations through my use of marks; these experiences are metamorphosed into individualized visual transliterations.

To truly understand events such as are depicted in these paintings, it seemed necessary to identify with and share these feelings of insecurity and distress.  An example of this can be seen in my painting, “The War in Vietnam: High Price of Freedom”. My continued empathy is expressed where my composition may appear slightly translucent or intangible.  Appearing at times as a mere dream or flashback imagery, the events themselves are as highly misunderstood as the reasons for war itself.

– Edwin Macaraeg