The Maiden, The Mother, The Crone

The archetypes of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone are reimagined as three generations of women in Truong’s family. Truong clads them in hand-painted silk as a reference to the origins of this treasured family cloth, and the material and cultural trade along the Silk Road. Whose opaque, hand-painted forebearer would portraits manifest representations derived from mythic shadows and lived experiences.
The Crone is Truong’s paternal grandmother, whom she has no memory of and has never met as she passed away from TB when her father was 12, when Vietnam was under the French colonial territories known as French Indochina. Painted from the only picture of her face Truong has of her: a framed portrait occupying a permanent place in their homes’ Bàn Thờ. What does it mean to be frozen in concept as a grandmother, but never age, experience, and gain the familial and cultural respectability as the elderly family matriarch?
The Mother has experienced pain and inserted uncanny influence in the home and on her children. Her trauma may be invisible to others, but is absorbed in her offspring like invisible spices she can’t keep from falling into the food she prepares with love.  Emerging from a pool of red liquid, she is surrounded by the durian tree. The heavy, spiked fruit is common in Southeast Asia; accompanied by a pungent odor described as rotting flesh by those foreign to its intense perfume, and a heavy, spiked physique. For the refugee and immigrant children growing up outside of their ancestral land, the ability to eat Durian represents a kind of litmus test. She is Mothera, taking on imaginary form from Mothra, the giant Moth creature from vintage TV episodes of Godzilla. The moth is flux—Mothera represents the deep transformation to adapt and exist in entirely foreign lands.
In the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy” the ability to ride a mechanical bull represented a kind of American transformation only attainable by white men. Often defined as sweet soft creatures who turn themselves into laurel trees rather than suffer the loss of their innocence, this maiden is none of those things. She is grounded in complex cultural experiences, rooted in self-determination and self-definition, armed with tools for autonomy.