"Puzzle of Sonder"
by Sophia Roca
Digital animation - 2048p x 2048p (2021)
The artwork, Puzzle of Sonder embodies a collection of animated memories that explores the joys and hardships of living between two cultures. Growing up as a first-generation Filipino-American, I am learning to appreciate life more through cultural acceptance and being mindful of my own unique perspectives. At home, I was taught the Filipino lifestyle and learned the American way of living through school. Feeling uncertain of my ability to cope with its dualities has become a life-long challenge for me. From my own experience, I believe that Filipino culture values collectivism and respect, whereas American culture values individualism and self-awareness. The contrast between the two cultures brings about feelings of dissociation and has made it challenging to navigate my individuality while being self-assured. I utilize visual storytelling in my artwork to explore the beauty and complexities of human existence. In particular, I share my personal narrative including how I navigate my cultural background. The narrations animated in the series of GIFs for the Puzzle of Sonder demonstrate the intricate moments of my life. The animations are whimsical, which implement soft and delicate shades of monochromatic colors that juxtapose the lighter and darker aspects of my story. The multitude of GIFs serves as a backdrop for the central element of collective dinner plates that symbolize my hunger for new life-changing experiences. Our lives from the beginning to end resemble a complete full circle, the dinner plates are a reminder to appreciate life and take in the wonders of the world. The big picture was influenced by a postal stamp from my grandparents' love letters who lived in the Philippines. Reflecting on everyday life, I continuously work towards completing a multitude of photographic mosaic animations that capture moments of personal empowerment and self-growth. These memories are broken into puzzle pieces to portray the analogy of life that is meant to be treated like a jigsaw puzzle with no reference photo. Life is quite messy, but we collect these diverse experiences until we get the big picture.