My name is Katie Ito and I am a senior Pre-Art Therapy major with a special focus in sculpture and liturgical art. My last three years at Taylor have been marked with a sacred vulnerability and self-discovery as I have reflected on moments of consonance and dissonance within my journey as a female Asian-American Christian born and raised in the Midwest. In my work, I often explore themes of liminality, healing, racial and cultural identity formation, food, symbolism, and spirituality.
The vase titled “Persimmon Summer,” is 18” high, handbuilt with coils, and covered in hand-painted blue persimmon branches, laden with ripe fruit. I made it for my mother, who is an ex-pat from Thailand and moved to the U.S. almost 35 years ago with a suitcase and a couple hundred dollars in cash. She often finds herself longing for the tropical fruits of her home that couldn’t be grown in the winter-laden seasons of the Midwest. It always felt like a victory when she would discover that the Asian grocery in town sold some imported fruits that she grew up loving as a child and wanted to share with us. Once, she scored crates of golden, Alphonso mangoes whose silky sweet flesh put the fibrous red mangoes of Kroger to shame. I remember the day she carried a small box of orange persimmons into the house after a grocery trip. She was beaming. We gathered around the table and she’d carefully peel each of the persimmons with a paring knife and cut it into even slices for my siblings and I to try. I see persimmons today and am reminded of the taste of victory, and my brave mother who gave up everything she was comfortable with in pursuit of a new life in the states.”