You’re a queer artist of colour, working in the United States in divisive and turbulent times. Does this affect the kind of work you’re compelled to make?
I’m definitely not a political artist. I hesitate to hyphenate my role as an artist and I push back whenever there’s an article that underscores my identity as an artist with labels such as trans or Asian or queer. I am an artist and make work wherever my ideas take root. If you think about an artist like Donald Judd people don’t associate his work with his background of being an engineer or his being a white cis white male as the source of why he makes these white cubes. But somehow to understand my work, it must be contextualised with my biography and it really accentuates how wide the gulf is. I have a lot of reservations about that.
You were born in Canada and spent your formative childhood years in Hong Kong. Does this give you a different perspective on what’s unfolding in the United States?
I was born in Canada because my parents immigrated due to fear of the handover. My dad doesn’t speak fluent English and quickly realised that jobs he’d get there would not satisfy his ambition. So, we moved back to Hong Kong where I spent most of my childhood. I distinctively remember the experience of moving to the US. I went to school in Providence and realised that I was now part of the minority. Growing up as an Asian in Hong Kong, I was part of the majority but here I became part of the other.
So, understanding those two sides – those who belong in the interior, and those who belong in the exterior – I’m sure that has, in some way, affected my work. I still consider Hong Kong as home despite living in the US for 10 years now. I feel at home in between those places. I also enjoy being in the peripheries, I find it a generative place to be.