To the people of China, the Yangtze River is known as “The Dragon”. In its calm flowing state the river nourishes the countryside. People of the region rely on the river for farming, hauling goods by barge, traveling, fishing, and creating poetry and art. When “The Dragon” awakes, the river floods its banks; many people have to leave the area but later return to the sacred banks where thousands of years of history have evolved, to resume living with the phenomenon of “The Dragon”.
The Three Gorges Dam, a suite of paintings and works on paper.
My work is influenced from sites along the Yangtze River in China. Provinces, cities, townships, and villages along the Yangtze River are in an area called The Gorges. These gorges are the Qutang Gorge, the Wuxia Gorge, and the Xiling Gorge. This area is now part of the Three Gorges Dam and where my interpretation finds its core.
Tracing an arc of time along the Yangtze River, translating and interpreting the experience of confronting walls, facades, excavations and ruins of deserted villages will become a point of departure for my work.
I explore the intimate links between historical landscape change and the evolution of cultural memory. I focus on historical and cultural contradictions and the complicated experience linking accountability and innocence.
It is important that the social and political issues surrounding the Three Gorges Dam are reflected in my work. I explore the tangibles and intangibles of these issues, to deconstruct and reconstruct discoveries found in the multifaceted strata of centuries old temples, rock engravings, poetry, and artifacts thousands of years old in paintings and works on paper reflecting the unique nature of the dam region.
My work focus’s on how local communities of the Three Gorges region maintain their heritage in spite of the continuing and inevitable rearranging of their material and spiritual landscape.
The Three Gorges Dam affects 365 townships in 21 cities, districts, and counties in Sichuan and Hubei provinces, displacing close to two million people since the dam is completed. The reservoir created by the dam has buried not only towns and orchards, But also ancient barge haulers’ towpaths, hanging coffins, and rock engravings. The dam cuts by a third or more the height of the sheer-sloped gorges that dwarf the Yangtze River. Of the nearly 1,300 known archaeological sites in the reservoir area, archaeologists have determined that between 400 and 500 are worthy of preservation.