Asleep at Sea by Jane Tam

Issue 15

Hong Kong is my mother's hometown. She spent about two decades in that city before moving to America with my father. That city was always a mystery to me since I grew up seeing it on television, from rental VHS tapes of Hong Kong television series, in my Brooklyn living room. I would only hear stories about the street food, the markets, the islands, my relatives, and what the city meant to my parents through stories.

Traveling to Hong Kong is unlike any other vacation, as I know it involves revisiting old relatives and meeting new ones. It meant feeling it were a second home because it is where most of my heritage is from. Though my appearance as a Chinese person blends in with the population, identifying with the culture is a difficult and almost impossible task with my American upbringing.

Differences will always arise however the reality of sharing a recognizable physicality brought me to glide seamlessly through the Hong Kong landscape. The Western stereotype of the “exotic” was one I wanted to delete for myself, and portray the city as familiar.

Asleep at Sea weaves the emotional disconnect of my hybrid identity.

Jane Tam is a Brooklyn, NY based artist.
To view more of Jane's work, please visit her website.
Jane was an editor of the now defunct Nymphoto.

  Ocean that Crosses to China, Lau Fau San, 2008 

Ocean that Crosses to China, Lau Fau San, 2008 

  Government Apartment Building, Tuen Mun, 2008 

Government Apartment Building, Tuen Mun, 2008 

  Behind a Temple, Cheung Chau, 2008 

Behind a Temple, Cheung Chau, 2008 

  Table Setting, Cheung Chau, 2008 

Table Setting, Cheung Chau, 2008 

  Cat in the Middle, Cheung Chau, 2010 

Cat in the Middle, Cheung Chau, 2010 

  Lau Fau San Temple, 2008 

Lau Fau San Temple, 2008 

  Basketball Court in Front of Temple, Cheung Chau, 2008  

Basketball Court in Front of Temple, Cheung Chau, 2008  

  Temple, Tuen Mun, 2008 

Temple, Tuen Mun, 2008 

  Hakka Village, Sha Tin, 2010 

Hakka Village, Sha Tin, 2010 

  Front Entrance, Lamma Island, 2008 

Front Entrance, Lamma Island, 2008 

  Dog in the Middle, 2008 

Dog in the Middle, 2008 

  Main Square, Cheung Chau, 2008 

Main Square, Cheung Chau, 2008 

  A Bike, Sha Tin, 2010 

A Bike, Sha Tin, 2010 

  From a Watchtower, Kaiping, Guangdong, 2010 

From a Watchtower, Kaiping, Guangdong, 2010 

  Three Stray Dogs, Lau Fau San, 2008 

Three Stray Dogs, Lau Fau San, 2008 

  Branch, Lamma Island, 2010 

Branch, Lamma Island, 2010