House of YUAN (2022)

Inspired by a story shared by my aunt, I created a video and collage piece revolving around the ‘Yuan’ family house. This house, the first two-story building in Guiding, China, held immense significance as it housed multiple generations and embodied Confucian values of filial piety and collectivism in the 1950s. Although I never experienced it as my own universe due to the Chinese government’s takeover, I sought to recreate and revive its essence.

Gaston Bachelard’s idea of the reciprocal relationship between inhabitants and their dwellings resonated with me. The video showcases my hands manipulating found imagery, serving as evidence of tracing and reconstructing a mythical place that both exists and doesn’t. I navigated the process of building and reviving, seeking to find my identity in two spaces where I feel detached. Simultaneously, I express the longing to reconnect with my family and preserve their stories.

Bind (2020)

Bind explores memory, identity, and cultural preservation through the lens of immigration, particularly my parents’ journey from China to South Africa. I use cherished objects and old photos to capture our connection to our homeland and weave them into collages that narrate my own immigration experience alongside my parents’. I’m also fascinated by our family’s culinary traditions, passed down through generations without written recipes. To visualize this, I deconstruct and reinterpret these traditions in collages, creating a visual journal of our migration. By using English cookbooks, I symbolize my bilingual upbringing and my parents’ limited English proficiency, reflecting our family’s immigration journey through language. This process affirms our place in the local Chinese community while maintaining our enduring Chinese identity, as highlighted in a relevant study on the importance of language in cultural preservation.