Hong Wu

A Seat At The Table
Artistic Discipline: Interdisciplinary
Category: Creative Equations Fund: Advocacy & Immigrant Voices
Grant Year: 2022

For far too long, immigrants have been the backbone of America while their impacts and achievements are severely overlooked and undervalued. Hong draws inspiration from the original photo commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. Despite the significant contributions of Chinese laborers, not even one was included in this historic document. The installation puts the spotlight on the day-to-day tension between immigrants' contributions and discriminatory power structures that render their labor invisible. The "table", a physical object and a metaphorical governing structure, exists in multiple shapes and forms. Seatless chairs in various compositions supporting the table underscores the collective contributions brought to America by immigrants while exposing the raw fact of limited access. The reality is immigrant contributions deserve renewed recognition and celebration. Hong incorporates American Immigration Council data to investigate immigrants' struggles and prospects with representation, i.e. “having a seat at the table”; more importantly, to celebrate the collective accomplishments by immigrants. Armed with concrete data, Hong aims to encourage and invite immigrant families to explore their own paths and opportunities to demand “a seat at the table” and enjoy Immigrant Pride to the fullest.

Image: Hong Wu, July 2020.