a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
To me, as a first generation Vietnamese American, the notion of rewilding constitutes translating naturally-occurring foliage and flavors from Vietnam into a context that may be better appreciated by both American-born persons of Vietnamese or non-Vietnamese descent. Pandan waffles are a traditional Vietnamese dessert and one that represents the balance of Asian and European culture that define Vietnam. Pandan leaves are vibrant and green, with a sweet, custard-like flavor that pairs well with coconut. My central thesis in these photographs, taken during a Lunar New Year celebration, is that Vietnamese Americans address their verdant homeland by making fresh pandan waffles out in public. The familiar Belgian waffle form helps to draw in Westerners who may be otherwise put off by the bright, Hulk-green hues of the batter. The distribution of waffle samples serves as a means to draw others toward this legacy. The leaf-flavored waffle emerges as a recreation of leaves, though the color and flavors have been distilled and concentrated by Western industrial processes.
Grace Sydney Pham is a self-taught photographer who has had the privilege of a well-rounded education, beginning with a Bachelors of Arts degree in English Literature with a Music Performance minor, which was followed by a Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences. She is currently working on her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and PhD in Physiology degrees at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Grace’s literature background injects her artistic practice with a deliberate sense of narrative, while her research skills heavily inform her process, which involves a high degree of repetition and troubleshooting due to the solitary nature of her work. Grace’s solo photography, which varies in genre from self-portraiture series to street candids, is heavily influenced by Cindy Sherman, Ren Hang, and horror cinema.