Site-specific installation
WaveHill, New York

Drawing inspiration from the hedges at the east end of Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden, similar formal elements are adapted in Paradise, where a gated,
paradisal formal garden is used as a metaphor for exposing the discrepancies in U.S. immigration policies. The installation explores the dichotomy of the sanctuary—its ability to protect as well as restrict and exclude.

With a gate barring the Sunroom’s main entry, visitors are redirected to enter through the Sun Porch, where they are further confronted by a low entrance and a high concrete wall. Within the constructed garden is a gravel path, faux grass and an artificial pool, which displays a slow-moving image of a night-blooming epiphyllum cactus flower at Wave Hill. A second epiphyllum flower is shown on a wall-mounted monitor. The recorded images are reminders of the surveillance that exists around us—the camera has captured a desirable moment and provided exclusive access. The installation further elicits questions about access, power and fetish within a multicultural and multi-class society.

In response to the United States as currently being the global leader in asylum requests, the work subverts the notion of the American dream, which remains
a reality despite the current, tense, political climate around race, religion and nationality. The origin of the word paradise as deriving from the Old Iranian pairi-daêza meaning “walled enclosure” is evoked here. The word remains a popular signifier for sanctuary—a welcoming, harmonious safe space—for select groups seeking asylum in the US. In the Sunroom, the outer graffiti wall comprises wheat-pasted images and stories of conflicts encountered by DACA recipients and other immigrants. Visitors are invited to contribute during the participatory event on July 14.

Other Projects

Back to Top