May 8 – July 7, 2001
Award-winning artist Flo Oy Wong will present her interpretation of the Angel Island Experience “made in usa: Angel Island Shhh” at the CCC from April 28 to May 31, 2000. A mixed-media installation artist, Ms. Wong uses rice, cloth sacks, Chinese funeral paper, suitcases, and other objects to narrate extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Born and raised in Oakland Chinatown, she now does shows on many levels, from local to international.
The point of entry for the majority of Chinese immigrants between 1910 and 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station occupies an important place in the history of Asian immigration. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, only merchants and their relatives could legally enter the country, forcing laborers to lie about their status . Many purchased entry papers from the merchant class, and assumed new identities in order to enter the United States. Many were detained for questioning.
Ms. Wong’s focuses on the untold stories of these “paper people,” using cloth rice sacks sewn onto American flags that try to convey the detainee’s feelings, or the secrets that they were forced to hide. Of personal importance is a suitcase installation entitled “My Mother’s Baggage: Paper Sister/Paper Aunt/Paper Wife,” which reveals the story of how the artist’s mother entered the United States as her father’s sister.
Accompanying Wong’s exhibit will be artifacts from the time period.
The exhibition has been made possible through collaboration of the Chinese Culture Center, the Kearny Street Workshop, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Chinatown Community Arts Project of the San Francisco Arts Commission. The California Arts Council has provided additional funding.