Artist Statement – East of Eden series, 2002


East of Eden presents a series of large, staged, color, narrative photographs that question the historical depiction of the American landscape as the Garden of Eden. East of Eden constitutes a complete shift in my focus from autobiographical and post-colonial discourse to the universal fear. The historical strategy of utilizing the landscape (i.e., the Hudson River School) as a metaphor for nationalism and optimism provides the background for my visual thesis. I am interested in looking at our contemporary American landscape as the Garden of Eden and re-framing it from the post-September 11th perspective. East of Eden deals with humanity in the context of the post-apocalyptic landscape. However, the project’s intentions are not limited to the portrayal of death and despair but also to the portrayal of hope and regeneration. In 2005, while in Vietnam I continued working on East of Eden both in a landscape that bears the physical scars of war, and with the people that have lived and survived its horrors. With East of Eden I am seeking an answer to the question: how does humanity endure and nurture despite the distractions and horror that often times exist to destroy it?