Grand Rapids, MI artist Kim Nguyen's unique childhood and adolescent years bring authenticity and wisdom to American Rice. Here's what she has to say about this fantastic piece:
I was raised by my single, Vietnamese immigrant mother. Growing up, I often had to feed myself dinner while she was working at her factory job. Dinner was usually either a reheated mom-made Vietnamese meal (rice with fish, soup, rice with soup, rice with curry, rice, rice, etc.) or an American frozen meal (Bagel Bites, Pizza Rolls, Kid Cuisines, etc.). Sometimes I would have neither option, so, I would have to make a meal with what ingredients I found in the refrigerator. AMERICA for me is my bowl of steamed white rice covered in melted shredded cheese and hotdogs. It is the hoisin sauce next to the ketchup bottle. It is my mom moving here, to work, to help pay for my better future. BUT it is also my relatives criticizing me when I use a fork instead of chopsticks. It is being ashamed and teased for all my differences when I was one of two Asian kids in my grade in school. It is my mom and I butting heads at every little thing because she is extremely religious and conservative and I am not... What I have drawn here is some of my experiences growing up in America, and while I often wish things were different, I know that I am so fortunate that my mom decided to make that big move all those years ago. I had the freedom to run around a yard, jumping through sprinklers. I watched so much television after school. Last year, I camped in the Rocky Mountains. America is beautiful…and thankfully, I have learned to make less gross meals since then.