sik teng mm sik gong (pardon my chinese) consists of a series of large format 4 x 5 inch photographs that are part of an investigation into Asian-Canadian diasporic identity and the ways that it manifests through familial relationships, domestic spaces, and objects. This work takes up aspects of the everyday to visualize the things “in between” that make up this identity: between care and neglect, sterility and warmth, belonging and alienation. The title of the series refers to a common Cantonese phrase in the Hong Kong-Canadian diaspora about first or second-generation immigrants who can understand parts of the language but don’t know how to speak it.
Much of Gloria Wong's practice has been informed by the experience of being brought up in an Asian-Canadian context, but not exactly belonging to either. Being the child of immigrants from Hong Kong specifically further complicates this identity too, as Hong Kong today exists in a space that is neither fully British or Chinese. Wong's interest in exploring this hyphenated, in-between space emerged as a result of this upbringing. Although this liminality creates a fragmented sense of identity, it also allows for possibilities to emerge that aren’t as heavily burdened by specific histories and traditions.
Even though this work is exploring a narrative that is common for many people, it is also a way of looking at the artist's identity, the self, and how it is formed as a result of these intersections of family, immigration, diaspora. Through a combination of portraits and still lifes, these photographs attempt to portray the complexities and nuances of this Asian-Canadian identity, while being conscious of overt stereotypical signifiers.