Saturday, November 23, 2013

Immigration Art Project on Slate

When Pimprae Hiranprueck was 13, her parents sat her down and told her she would be leaving Thailand for a military boarding school in Florida. Her father had come to the United States in 1967 as an exchange student and wanted his daughter to receive an American education, a sentiment Hiranprueck didn’t share. “I was devastated,” she said. “For a 13-year-old girl who didn’t speak English very well, moving to a foreign country was a terrifying idea.”

She cried herself to sleep for the first month and felt lost and confused. Above all, she felt displaced. One of only five Asian students, she was also the only Thai. Having no other choice, she accepted her reality and decided to make the best of things, eventually moving in with the people she calls her “American family,” relatives of her father’s host family from decades earlier.

Once Hiranprueck (who goes by Nancy) graduated, she enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she studied fashion design and textiles, eventually discovering photography. As the years progressed since leaving Thailand, she began to feel more at home in the Unites States through her education and also with her American family. 
. . .
Feeling as if she were straddling two parallel lines—and lives—she called the project “Intersecting the Parallels.” “These objects enabled me to reacquaint myself with friends and family and to create new memories,” she said. The work also gave her the opportunity to reflect on her life in the United States. Hiranprueck said it allowed her “to have a better understanding of myself and to gain a new perspective about who I am at this point in my life.” Read more and see her art here.


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