Artist's Statement

Jessica Chou

Digital Photographs - 16x20 Prints

Suburban Chinatown is a look at daily life in the San Gabriel Valley, a cluster of majority-asian suburbs just 10 mins east of Los Angeles. It also harbors Monterey Park, the first city in the U.S. to reach an Asian descent majority population. The region is a microcosm of America representing the changing demographics in the U.S. – one that highlights Asian American history and considers cultural assimilation as a two way street.

With the shift in global power dynamics and the narratives surrounding immigration in the current political landscape it is imperative that we look deeply at the stories that shape the conversations in our lives in a meaningful way.

The project explores how the community is settling its roots and grafting its ways into the collective memory and narrative of California, the suburbs and the American Dream. Using a combination of street photography and documentary methods the project collects visual clues from education, religion, family life, civic participation, entrepreneurship and arts and culture. The imagery provide hints on how the mixing of cultural identities is challenging our sense of place and belonging in the global age and who we are as Americans.