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This piece of art, titled “The Cascade”, deal with exile, root, Identity, integration, war, fear, life and death. I turn the gallery’s space into a 3D post card, viewers walk through the “skulls hill”, “back bones waterfall” and “vertebrae river”, as if they are flying with a drone.
There is a tradition in southern China: When a person is interned after 7 years, his descendant will take out the bones from the coffin, clean them before cremation. It is said that in this way, the soul will be completely in peace. If traditional Chinese dies overseas, his remains must be shipped back to his home town, and let his descendant to handle them. Only then can his soul really rest in peace, in homeland.
Sometime I question myself: How many “life” can I live? May be three: I was born and raised in Hong Kong, a British colony where is a mixture of East and West; I first visited Vancouver in 1988, I lived in Canada since 1989; I often dream about the scenery in Mainland China, a mysterious “homeland” where I have never been because of civil war.
Where should I rest myself?
I used over 1,000 pieces of wood panels and stacked them (together) into a 6-foot high structure of a “Skull Hill”, also shaped the panels into the configuration of a backbone by piling them in succession mimicing a river flow. After some preliminary calculation and 3D software analysis, these panels are cut out (precisely) piece by piece by laser cutter before being joined together by hand.
As now in my middle age, when older relatives pass away one after another, it makes me think more about death. In Canada, I have once lived in the Province of Alberta close to the Rocky Mountains and British Columbia. Through this exposure to the Canadian landscape, I felt for the law of nature and realize that death is analogous to a river streaming down from the high mountain top to the sea – it is just a repeat of a natural cycle. Whether on the cliff or at the rapids, one can still fearlessly appreciate, if not enjoy, the wonders of life and death in cyclical succession.