‘Ancestral Journeys’ showcases immigration stories


Treasure Nguyen

“Begins With Tea” by Trinh Mai. Made from family photos printed on joss paper, grains, seeds, herbs, and dried noodles from Grandmother’s kitchen, Grandmother’s used tea bags.

Yami Sun, Staff Reporter

Artists gathered for a reception for the new exhibit “Ancestral Journeys” which spotlights self-identity, family history, immigration, and diasporas at the Euphrat Museum of Art on Feb 13.

“I thought last night we went really well, especially considering how  the weather was,” said museum director Diana Argabrite. The exhibition will be held until March 21.

Artist Trinh Mai uses “Begins with Tea” to document time because her grandmother touched and drank every single one of those tea bags. “It probably has her DNA on it. Right? That’s an interesting thought,” she said.

“I want people to see themselves in something that’s completely illogical. I want to make work that speaks to people in ways that they might not understand, but they can feel,” she said.

Katy Cole, 23, an art major at De Anza who also helped to set up the installation said,” I actually was here when artist David Middlebrook set some of these up and they’re actually different eggs from endangered species around the world.”

Treasure Nguyen
Artist Cheryl Derricotte discusses her works made from kiln-formed glass and powder prints.

“Tobacco” was created to loosely tell the story of artist Cheryl Derricotte’s mother’s side of the family, she said. Even though there’s a lot of negative history, addiction and terrible things about tobacco, she said if you looked at the plant itself, rendered in that etched glass, all you just see are these beautiful leaves.

“With my work, I always say it’s the beauty of the glass or the sexiness of the material that will lure you in,” Derricotte said. “But there’s a deeper narrative and dialogue that I want to have with you, once you understand the subject matter.”

“I hope that whatever show you’re looking at will make you think, that it won’t just be obvious,” said Argabrite.

Argabrite said there she asks artists at different levels of fame to participate in exhibits but she might not hear back from them because they are too busy and successful.

But sometimes she gets surprises, like Gail Tanaka who is a New York-based famous artist. Not only did Tanaka respond, but she said she was delighted to participate. She wanted to help pay for the shipping.