Faculty of Art
If Not Here, Then Where?
Encaustic on wood, beeswax, woodcut prints, cyanotype, relief ink, oil paint
10" x 10" x 1¼" inch
850 (CAD) Contact Exhibitor
Helen Tran’s work draws on traditional family ceremonies and funerary rituals and utilizes both print media and photography to express the idea of mourning and healing. “If Not Here, Then Where?” contextualizes how mourning rituals are constructed within Tran’s culture and identity using motifs of shrines, keepsakes, and ritual offerings. She brings these threads into the conversation by exploring the relationship through family gatherings of "Ngày Giỗ", a Vietnamese term for death anniversary. These practices of ancestral ceremonies have been an underlining emphasis throughout her life. Tran's material and aesthetic choices express notions of ephemerality and loss. Her current work is presented in a collective series of woodcut prints and cyanotypes. She combines the materiality of print, photography, and painting into a unified encaustic narrative.
“When there is a death of a loved one, the only remnants of them are their images in our mind, and the traces they leave behind; these markings in a way are to tie up the visual imagery of my work. The prominent burnt marks and ashes that are mixed with wax represent a vestige of the human past. I wanted to research how memories are constructed, preserved, and restored within my culture. Over time, we maintained our traditions by commemorating those we’ve lost and kept an altar of deceased family members within our household. Then, I started to realize that this was how we remembered them. ”
Printmaking & Photography
“When it comes to mourning and grief of others, it has primarily affected me when there is an event of death. It then follows me by forlorn sorrow and silence, with traces of their memories that stay...” [More]