This part begins with “Lure / Return (Shenzhen)”, a work of a thousand red threads tied with sewing needles, created by Beili LIU , who was born in Shenzhen and now lives in the United States, drawing both the viewer’s eyes and minds into the memories of overseas Chinese. The sewing needles in Beili LIU’s work are not only a symbol of women’s traditional role in work, but also a symbol of their homeland that has always been concerned with and in connection to their souls and destinies being abroad, forming a close relationship between them and China. The exploration of this memory of migration is at first macroscopic, in which Hua JIN and Gayle Chong KWAN’s two sets of photographs reflect on the inextricable connection between migration and homeland, landscape and human relationship through the observation of a cross-section, from a perspective that connects humans and nature, humans and land, in an anthropological approach. There are also exploration that are based on individual memories. Linda ZHANG’s reconstructed models of traditional Chinese architecture in the exhibition hall, as well as Alison KUO and Yeu-lai MO’s demonstrations of Chinese food and Chinese take-out are typical collective memory of the life of overseas Chinese, and they transform the family and community histories of their own into a shareable common heritage via various materials.
The work of the artists in this part is a revelation and retrospect of history, but also a re-weaving and re-writing.
Keywords: Materiality, Artist Labor, Feminist Concerns, Resilience, Hope
Beili LIU, born in Jilin province, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. She currently lives and works in Austin, Texas, USA. She studied in Shenzhen University, China from 1992 to 1994. She received her B.A. from University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2001, and her M.F.A. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2003. She is the Leslie Waggener Endowed Professor in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She exhibits internationally in locations including China, Norway, Finland, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the United States. She was awarded a San Francisco Mayor's Award in commendation for her contribution to US-China cultural exchange in 2008. She is an artist involving in various materials. Her installations resulted from time and process are concerned with the speciality and similarity, transience and persistence, conflict and integration of cultures.
In “Lure” Series, I portrayed the Chinese legend of invisible Red Thread that binds lovers by the ankle from birth. With each passing day, the thread pulls them closer until at last they find each other, overcoming distance and social and cultural divides. The conceptual framework of the work is concerned with the universal, basic human desire for connection and belonging, regardless of our cultural and social differences, and no matter what part of the world we are from.
Gayle Chong KWAN
Keywords: Environment, Installation, Anthropocene
Gayle Chong KWAN, born in Edinburgh, in Scotland, currently lives and works in London, UK. She received her B.A. in Politics and Modern History from University of Manchester, UK in 1994, her M.A. in Communications from University of Stirling, Scotland, UK in 1995, her B.F.A. from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK in 2000, her M.F.A. from Royal College of Art, London, UK in 2015. She is now a PHD candidate in Royal College of Art, London, UK around the notion of “Imaginal Travel”. Her work is centered around an expanded and embodied notion of photographic practice which embraces two- and three-dimensional sculptural approaches to collage and montage.
“Anthropo-scene” explores the built environment, strata, ruin, and waste. The photographic and installation works emphasise the temporal nature of waste, as recalcitrant repositories of artefacts that testify to the dominance of the human impact, and which also function as markers of passing and change. Fantastical large-scale wall-based photographic panoramas combine images of London's lost buildings with contemporary waste gathered from the city, while structures and built installations recall stacks of archaeological drawers and layers. Photographic and sculptural elements range in ratio, layers and scale, in addition and subtraction of each other, as an exploration of the scale-dependence of strata-time relations.
Keywords: Meditative, Reflective, Evanescent, Atmospheric, Spiritual
Hua JIN, born in Hebei province, China, current.ly lives and works in Montreal city, Canada. She received her BFA from Photography Department, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2012, and her MFA from Studio Arts Photography, Concordia University Montreal, Canada in 2016. She was awarded Mayor's Award for Visual Arts in Vancouver in 2012, Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award from The Conseil des arts de Montréal in 2018, and Coup de Coeur de la 37e Edition du Symposium international d'art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, QC in 2019. She is an artist involving in photography, pursuing inspiration from her own diversified cultural background, studying and reflecting on her own cultural identity.When the first Scottish immigrants arrived in the early nineteenth century, Dundee was a deserted wild forest. In order to farm and survive, the first generation of immigrants cultivated the land under rather difficult conditions, and since then humans have taken over the mastership of this land from nature. However, things changed. More than two hundred years later, some parts of this town are slowly returning to the hands of nature due to a second change in the human way of life. This project attempts to consider both humans and nature the protagonists, to recall the past that these two have been through, to discover the traces that they had left in history, hence to demonstrate the relationship between them. The word “Dundee” has two meanings in Scottish Gaelic: “Dun” refers to a castle, meaning man’s desire for eternity, and “Dee” is a river in Scotland, employing the flow to refer to constant change. Therefore, the name Dundee is a paradox, a paradox that man attempts to resist change while everything is in constant flux.
Keywords: Community Heritage, Participatory Design, Gamification, Architectural 3d Scanning, Chinatown Artwork
Linda ZHANG, born in Ontario, Kitchener, Canada, currently lives and works in Toron.to, Ontario, Canada. She received her B.A. of Science in Architecture from McGill University in 2011, and her M.A. in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2014. She is now Principal Architect at Studio Pararaum (located in Toronto, Canada and Zurich, Switzerland) and Assistant Professor at The Creative School at Ryerson University (located in Toronto, Canada). She is an architect, exploring themes of architectural memory, heritage and identity. She tries to challenge Western approaches to memory and heritage through an Eastern lens. Too often, community voices are not heard in city planning processes for the future of their own neighbourhoods. This work attempts to start from the architectural heritage of a Chinatown in Toronto, using art, technolo.gy and play to create a platform for public and community participation in the future envisioning of Chinatown, to contribute to a shared future through community engagement and participation.
Keywords: Playful, Honest, Poetic, Feminist, Startling
Yeu-Lai MO, born in Stourbridge, West Midlands, England, currently lives and works in London, UK. She received her B.F.A from Brighton University and her M.F.A from Royal College of Art. From 1999-2002, she managed the British Chinese Artists Association. She is a multi-culture artist. Her work evolves around her experience of growing up in a oversea Chinese family and often is a homage to women’s dedication through the discussion of women’s role.
“Service with a smile” is component of my earlier piece “Yeu-Lai’s house”, which represents my feelings of anxiety as a teenager. I was also a little annoyed that I had to work behind a counter on the weekends whilst my friends could go to discos. I want to make work about my identity and tell a story from my point of view.“All the Chinese I know” is “a list” of simple Chinese. From an early age, I was taught elementary Chinese by my parents, so that I could take orders from our English customers. I have used a format that is found in the children’s class room, bright colours used on posters for the alphabet chart. When I present this piece, it is shown with humor, but in reality it is a record of my childhood.
Keywords: Heritage, Context, Nostalgia, Interpretation, Cooking
Alison KUO, born in Urbana, Illinois, USA, currently lives and works in New York, US. She graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown Texas with a Bachelors of Art in Ceramics in 2008. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a Masters in Fine Arts in 2014. She co-founded Sisters in Self-Defense in 2021 with author / professor Ava Chin: an Asian American organization that provides self-defense workshops for AAPI women, non-binary folks & seniors. She has long making art for fellow members of the Asian American diaspora. Working in a diasporic context, She attempts to make connections between the formal qualities of her sculptural output and interactive food performances, collaborative community based projects, and researched based work.
“Chinese Cooking the American Way” is a series of printed collage works that look at a specific slice of North American cooking culture: Chinese cookbooks printed for Western audiences in the second half of the twentieth century. The images and texts are drawn from vintage cookbooks published between the early 1960s and the late 1980s, partly drawn from my family’s collection. Some are part of the era’s marketing of exotic cuisines, while others take a more educational look at the ingredients, traditions, and festivals of “the world’s oldest civilization.” Even today, “ethnic” cuisines can bring up challenging questions about authenticity, appropriation, and identity. This project invites the viewer to enter into a conversation about our relationship to cookbooks, family recipes, and how taste might be conveyed through image and text. (co-written with the art historian Media Farzin.)