Airing Old Secrets

Flags tell the stories of Chinese paper sons and daughters

By sewing rice sacks onto American flags and embellishing her work with sequins and hand-painted text, Sunnyvale artist Flo Wong pays tribute to the Chinese immigrants who were detained and interrogated at Angel Island.
Courtesy of Kearny Street Workshop
By sewing rice sacks onto American flags and embellishing her work with sequins and hand-painted text, Sunnyvale artist Flo Wong pays tribute to the Chinese immigrants who were detained and interrogated at Angel Island.
Flo Wong's three older sisters, Lai Wah, Li Hong, and Li Keng, were detained at Angel Island in 1933.
Flo Wong's three older sisters, Lai Wah, Li Hong, and Li Keng, were detained at Angel Island in 1933.

"Doesn't bother me," Robert says of his willingness to talk about Angel Island. "I'm not scared. They want to deport me? I pay taxes for 60 years." Still, like most of the former detainees Flo Wong has interviewed for her exhibit, Robert feels more comfortable speaking about Angel Island in Chinese after being heavily prodded, and he has never told his children about his time there.

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