rice doll on beads”

by Jeffrey Augustine Songco


Artist Statement

“As a young boy, I remember the smell of a rag doll that belonged to my older sister. It was a small human girl that was filled with grains of rice — how Filipino. Twenty years later when I was living in New York City, I created an edition of 23 self-portrait rice dolls that existed as a dense and messy pile in the corner of a room. Slowly but surely, I invited people who came to my Bushwick apartment to take one of these dolls home — a simple gesture of kindness and generosity coupled with a longing to feel remembered. More than a decade later, I still keep a rice doll with me, hoping that one day it will have that stale rice smell I remember from home. Today, I photographed my rice doll on a bed of colorful plastic bead necklaces (a repeated material in my artwork since 2015) as a way to connect my past and present, affirm my queer signifiers, and offer new pathways of meaning for my artwork.”


Artist’s BIO:

Jeffrey Augustine Songco is a multidisciplinary artist. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. His artwork has been exhibited throughout the USA including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids. In 2017, he was featured in the publication "Queering Contemporary Asian American Art," and he was the Installation Category Juried Award winner at ArtPrize Nine. He currently lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan and would like to be the US representative to the 2023 Venice Biennale.