Charlene Tan is an interdisciplinary artist focused on the diaspora and its repercussions, post-assimilation identity, and anthropological investigations of nationalism and cultural heritage. Inspired by her Filipina Chinese American identity, she reconnects to her artistic cultural heritage of indigenous weaving patterns of the Philippines. She digitally scans found images and pairs them down to the essence of the pattern.
Tan’s art works for Heritage Threads celebrates the visual language of Filipino textiles. These patterns hold spiritual and ceremonial meaning. It is an homage to weaving deity Fu Dalo and the legacy of traditional handwoven cloth indigenous to the Philippines. The use of freshwater pearls, cowrie shells, beads, and food based materials like Ube, a purple yam, is symbolic of Tan’s connection with diaspora by honoring her ancestors. Honoring her family connections to weaving and applied arts like embroidery to create a muscle memory of patterns that are taught from childhood.