Ten Thousand Li
DINU LI, PAMELA SO, YUEN-YI & YEU-LAI MO
22 APRIL – 31 MAY 2003
Ten Thousand Li is a group exhibition exploring Chinese experiences of living within contemporary British culture. The title signifies a long distance (Li is a Chinese measurement of distance approximately 1.6km) and conveys how far the Chinese diaspora in Britain has travelled. The work of four artists – Dinu Li, Pamela So, Yuen-Yi Lo and Yeu-Lai Mo illustrates the realities of cultural and social diversity in Britain today.
Dinu Li’s photographic series, Secret Shadows, explores the provocative and highly topical subject of illegal immigrants. Through the images, he glimpses into their private living spaces and personal possessions in order to investigate a lifestyle that is usually hidden from the wider community.
Dress Code, by Pamela So, enters the wardrobe of three different generations of Chinese women using digitally manipulated photographic work to examine the dilemmas of cultural heritage that face the Chinese diaspora in Scotland. Role Play, consisting of postcardstacks, is an interactive piece that allows the audience to participate in their own identity exchanges and the video, Chinese Chest, portraying the hands of the grandmother folding and putting away her traditional Chinese silk clothes, becomes an act of archiving and questions why tradition is being put away and what it is to be replaced by.
In her first major UK exhibition, Yuen-Yi Lo’s work explores the social construction of femininity, infused by the influences of the criss-crossed cultures and customs in Hong Kong and prompted by her experiences of being in Britain. Working with textual representations of the Chinese language and ‘nusha’ (a secret women’s script from Hunan, China), she produces intense graphite drawings and extends them into mechanical prints, stills and video installation that explore and challenge meanings within language.
Yeu-Lai Mo’s artwork presents an acute observation of growing up as a British Chinese and working in her parents’ Chinese takeaway in her adolescent years. Incorporating a large-scale, iconic photo-poster, food sculptures and a sound piece, she makes autobiographical and humorous references to issues within the Chinese community and takeaway culture.
The exhibition is co-curated by Deborah Chan and Wing-Fai Leung and toured by Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, produced in collaboration with Centre for Art International Research, Liverpool John Moores University and supported by the Arts Council of England’s National Touring Programme and North West Arts Board.