Growing up, with the exception of his grandparents, artist James Chan never know how he was related to family members he had met throughout his life.He wasn’t motivated to learn more about his family history until March of this year, when he found out he was named James after his great-grandfather Jaime Chang, He then learned that in the 1920s, Jaime went to Havana Cuba from Toishan. This discovery about his great-grandfather was one of the first steps in learning more about his family’s stories.
James spent about 2 months collecting stories from his father and grandmother over the phone in addition to general research about the history of overseas Chinese. Using all the discoveries, family stories, musings and challenges encountered during the project, Chan created a series of illustrations and paintings which were presented in a show titled “Where Are You REALLY From?” at 384 Broadway.
The show at 384 Broadway is only the start of James’ genealogy research project, he plans to continue working on the “where are you REALLY from?” project to learn more about his family and the history of overseas Chinese. He also hopes that through this exhibition, more people will be inspired to learn more about their own family histories.