The picture of Enas Abdelkhaleq shows a young lady full of determination. The way she posed shows both feminine and masculine aspects in it. When she was 14 years old, Enas was forced to leave her home country and moved to the United States. Enas missed her home country, but cannot come back because of certain political issues. I found myself in Enas’s story, but more fortunate than her. My family moved to the United States seven years ago. We came to the United States with the hope to have more opportunities and freedom.
Even though my brother and I came to the U.S. when we were little, Vietnam is always in our heart. My brother and I like to talk about the old days we had in Vietnam. In the morning, we would eat a big bowl of Pho from Mrs. Tam’s mini Pho restaurant. She would give us each an egg yolk and grounded the beef instead of whole beef. After that, we would check out the i”nsect man” to see if there are any new insects in his collection. At the time, crickets were popular so my brother and I would beg my mother for a cricket. Unfortunately, we were too young to take care of the cricket and so it died. 😦
There are many more things that my brother and I remind each other about Vietnam. But those will just be memories. Similarly with Enas, her knowledge of Palestine is just her memories about it, she cannot be there physically to experience. Fortunately, my family does go back to Vietnam every two years to visit our family.
Another aspect that I found myself similar to Enas is my ethnicity. Before coming to the United States, being Vietnamese was something that was so basic for me to even use it as my identification. I often overlooked it because I live in Vietnam and I look like a Vietnamese, so there is no need to put as part of my identity. However, since moving to the U.S., I started to value my Vietnamese identification. The Unites States is a diverse country with many ethnicities and cultures; therefore, being Vietnamese can separate me from others.
Only when you get out of your bubble, will you able realize your true value.
P.S. I’m not sure if Enas Abdelkhaleq is the artist, because I spent too much time interviewing Marlyn (a classmate) and when I came into the gallery, most of the artists were gone. 😦
The way the gallery setup was a bit confusing to me, therefore, I couldn’t find the artist’s statement. I’m sorry.