multimedia installation; single channel video, soft sculpture, hand upholstered recliner, 2015-2017
Hometown Hero (Chink) presents a rarely depicted view into the tensions inherent in being Asian American within the American South and I found that electrifying. Art is most compelling when it gives voice to new stories. Making this all the more special, art fairs, which tend to be more akin to a really expensive street fair than a museum experience, don’t often have room for works like Estabrook. Thus, the work’s very existence makes SPRING/BREAK a welcome outlier in the expanse of Armory week.
— Emily Colucci, from ARTFCITY, State Of The Union At SPRING/BREAK
Hometown Hero (Chink) is an installation consisting of three parts: a single channel video, a custom upholstered recliner, and a fabric-covered room furnished with other upholstered items. By utilizing chenille upholstery fabric for the treatment of the entire space the installation seeks to inform the viewer's sense of touch while subverting the expectation of comfort. The video playing on the television monitor, attempts to deconstruct and reconcile the dual identities of Asian American and Southern American. Meanwhile a large recliner, a “lazy boy” with looming imagery of the Confederate flag, dominates the space. It sits facing the television, acting as a physical stand-in for the casual racism inherent in the desire to return to an idealized fictional version of America: the wish to “Make America Great Again.” The resulting work is a window into the tensions of being a perpetual foreigner in one’s own hometown.
The work reveals hidden personal histories, allowing others to peer into a space that many like me occupy: a state of psychological exile, of in-between, of longing yet never belonging. By challenging the notions of heritage, Southern nationalism and “traditional” American culture, I hope to facilitate honest conversations regarding race, otherness, assimilation and indoctrination.