Percy Lam (b. 1991) was born and raised in Hong Kong, and immigrated to the U.S. at age 17. Lam is a fiber-based artist and his practice focuses on the exploration of his remote relationship to Hong Kong while he is currently located in the U.S. The way of making is a mending process for him to reconnect with his birthplace.
Shortly after my family and I settled in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I struggled to get along in a new surrounding, I became fascinated with PEZ dispensers because of a music video that showcased thousands of them massively filling the walls. This song, by a Hong Kong singer, was one of my first introductions to a form of American utopia through a foreign lens. I had always turned to adorable collectables to bring me energy and excitement, and PEZ became my new obsession, as a way to anchor myself in new surroundings. I then started to see the potential of PEZ wrappers and candy as art materials—the wrapper colors and the shape of the candy, reminiscent of buildings and lights in Hong Kong.
Since then, my work has approached the depiction of Hong Kong through diverse materials and techniques to explore my complex relationship with the city I still consider home. By recreating the city’s buildings and skylines through the use of weaving, sewing, and neon works, I hope to bridge my past and present in my role as a member of the Hong Kong diaspora, looking back to my homeland with my gaze from afar. In my current practice, I am interested in addressing issues such as Hong Kong’s disappearing neon culture, unique housing phenomenon, and recent social unrest, weaving predominantly soft materials to mend the sense of identity loss that results from a long-term disconnection. Through my work, I hope to bring new insights to how Hong Kong’s cultures and values are perceived at a distance.