I'm In Ya.

I'm In Ya.


Ten days of people making fun of my name on facebook
Edition of 200
Silver foil cover, Indigo digital offset printing of 70 color pencil drawings

In March of 2016, somebody made fun of my name, as it appeared on my Facebook profile. I know this because for 10 days, I received 70 + direct messages from strangers (all in the UK) making jokes about my name; referring to it as I’m In Ya (as in I’m In You). It took me a while to understand the joke. In my life, I had never thought of my name, Imin Yeh, in that way. 

My name, Imin Yeh, is the result of a very careful and deliberate decision process by my parents. They immigrated to this country in the mid 70s, but my siblings and I were born in the States. Many Asian immigrants in this situation choose to give their children American names, reserving their Chinese name as a middle name, or for use at home.   My parents intentionally chose to keep our first names Chinese. My name is 葉艾明 (Yeh Ai-Ming), it is composed of a Family Surname (Yeh), and individual character (Ai) and a generational character (Ming). All of my siblings share a generational character, it is a common Chinese naming convention. Fearing that Ai-Ming Yeh would look too foreign or would be mocked, they tried their best to anglicize the spelling and settled on Imin Yeh, reserving Samantha as my middle name so that I could have a choice. Finally, aware of discrimination towards women, my father chose gender neutral names to give to his two daughters. This is the way I have always thought about and loved my name.  

I’m in Ya is about a strange event surrounding a strange name. It is also a story about parents who thought carefully and seriously about how to merge two languages and two cultures into the name of their daughter.  The text of I’m in Ya is set in Space Groetsk and is of each message received, as it appeared in my inbox. The images are reproductions, drawn in colored pencil, of the sender’s profile picture. I’m in Ya. was supported in part by funding from the College of Fine Arts Fund for Research and Creativity. 

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