Gina Osterloh (b. 1973)
Rapture, from the Somewhere Tropical series, 2006
LightJet photograph
36 x 40 in.
Private collection

Everyone says, ‘You must be an army baby.’ My mom actually emigrated from Cebu, Philippines, to Guatemala first … She had already gotten her graduate degree in the Philippines, but it didn’t count in the States at the time.—Gina Osterloh

Gina Osterloh is the daughter of a German American father and a mother from the Philippines who met in graduate school. Somewhere Tropical, a series of staged photographs rendering “unreadable” the figure of the artist, negotiates the relationship between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional space and references concealed identities and notions of “passing,” clichéd tourist images of the tropics, war, war films, and her mother’s family history during WWII.

Albert Chong (b. 1958)
Portrait of the Artist as a Victim of Colonial Mentality, 1979/2010, 2010
Photo transfer on marble tiles
48 x 48 in.
Courtesy of the artist

I don’t think you can say anything meaningful with abstraction, period. There’s no way of doing the narrative; it needs representation to communicate — Albert Chong

Albert Chong’s grandfathers were Chinese and his grandmothers were Black Jamaican, and he was raised in Jamaica until he moved to New York at age nineteen. His 1979 photo, Portrait of the Artist as a Victim of Colonial Mentality, was staged with symbols of colonial oppression, and re-imagined in 2010 transferred onto marble tiles, perhaps symbolizing a solidity of presence often denied to the Black Chinese of Chong’s parents’ generation in Jamaica.