A Narrative Library


my name is: Sandy Shimooka

i'm sharing: The Herencia Trilogy narrative library built for the current Getty Underground art show. The mixed-media art installation is made from the drawer of an antique travel trunk. Representing both a grave monument and a home shrine, it is filled with various made and found objects that might appear in a personal memory box, but allude to travel, immigration, assimilation, and commerce interwoven in the fictional and real narratives of Los Angeles history, as well as its ties to the border with Mexico. As if watching over a cemetery, the angel above requests silence and hints to the unspoken stories and narratives of the city that may be taken to the grave. The red Eve figure with prayer beads, the traveler's triptych, and the image of the "ensō" suggest that there is a part of human nature that is "human" and imperfect, and even if Adam and Eve were provided with paradise in the garden of Eden, humans are still tempted to test boundaries, seek knowledge, and create for oneself, regardless of the consequences.

The work includes original photos, text, map, sculpted and assembled objects, drawing by Tanner Goldbeck, and a take-away copy of the Herencia Trilogy concept book with only parts of the written story, and with pages and chapters purposely left blank to invite the reader to imagine the other parts of the story and incorporate their own narratives.

this was inspired by: The piece is a Greetings From L.A. tribute (featured in the Getty Research Institute's Pacific Standard Time exhibition), and it is inspired by a variety of work by Al Ruppersberg, as well as an overall questioning of what difference an individual or group of individuals can make with their life... What elements of our history are inherited through genetics, community, culture, society, and nature? How much influence does it have on our identity or our future, and how much of it plays a role through all of humanity's shared history? Are the allegories told in Plato's Republic, Voltaire's Candide, or even the Bible's Genesis relevant in our current day dilemmas? How do a lifetime of toil or chance events affect our path? Is it predetermined fate or force of will that ultimately drives our narrative?

Herencia means both inheritance and heritage in Spanish. The written narrative of the Herencia Trilogy explores the contrasting extremes, and irony, that Los Angeles is the world capital for both cinema and the porn industry, and it is also the end market for much of the illegal labor, drug dealing, human trafficking, and arms trade that drive the conflicts just a few hours south on the other side of the border: The U.S. as the world’s largest “gated community.”

to me, inspiration is: To me, inspiration is the meeting of learning and motivation. It seems to be an intrinsic part of human nature to explore. I think people want to do more than survive, reproduce, and exist. We seem to want to create and go beyond conventions, boundaries, and expectations. I think love is an important part of inspiration. Love of ourselves, each other, and the other things that are in our world. I am thankful for those feelings and experiences that make me want to do more.

Connect with Sandy Shimooka
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