Within the imagination of the Asian diaspora, eggs have often been used metaphorically to invoke ideas of authenticity and how racial identities are constructed and performed externally. Chinese tea eggs and century eggs are cultural object-artifacts that hold much nostalgia for me despite my having not grown up with them or even tasting them until adulthood. Probing notions of melancholy and homesickness, I turned to making my own tea eggs and store bought century eggs and photographed their remnants.
These eggshells, while delicate and porous, are simultaneously robust protective incubators, speaking to how “identity” holds dual meanings of both sameness (as in the word “identical”) and difference from others. This pairing of commonality and difference has structured how I think about cultural identity – one that straddles the peripheries of both ‘inside and outsideness.’ Despite having been used in simple and narrow ways to reduce complex transnational identities down to a food item, eggs are in fact, an incredible metaphor for resilient diasporic identities.