Mom’s Tiger Shrike

Mom’s Tiger Shrike: 16″ x 12″ Acrylic on Canvas

The tiger shrike is Vietnam’s national bird and considered a symbol of courage—that is, the persistence to face challenges despite the physical, psychological, and moral risks in doing so. It is a perfect descriptor for my mom, who never stopped walking the path to freedom for my family since sailing away on a deathly mission to her first refugee camp in Indonesia.

There she was, barely 24, boarding unknown waters, never knowing if she’d see her family again. Never knowing if she was going to make it to land. Never knowing if pirates were going to show up at her door. Never knowing when her next meal was going to be. Never knowing if the U.N. was going to find her. Never knowing if she was going to make it out alive, really. Yet still, never ceasing to give her partner (now, my dad) and the camp’s children all her love.