Respectful Child - RBC Emerging Artists Series

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    My ideas for 落叶归根  [luò yè guī gēn] first started forming when I learned that the land Remai Modern sits on used to be Chinatown in the early 20th century. As I learned more about this often overlooked history, I noticed the emotional connection I felt to early Chinese migrants, despite not being related to them. Around the same time, my parents were telling me about the Hungry Ghost Festival back in Malaysia, where paper effigies are burned as offerings to provide for the needs of the ancestors. I was drawn to this act of burning as a form of transformation, a way to communicate with ancestral spirits and care for them in everyday life.

    I’ve always felt a bit lost in terms of my relationship to this land and place. My parents are immigrants and we are settlers; our ancestral roots are on the other side of the world. 落叶归根  is my realization of the broader ways that ancestors can be defined, outside of blood relations. I can have a relationship with the early Chinese settlers and Indigenous ancestors of this land, who laid the foundations for the life I live today. I can express my gratitude and promise not only to remember them, but to be responsible and accountable to them; to take care of what they cultivated and honour their work and care.

    I decided to make a gate as a nod to the proposed Riversdale Chinatown Gate that was never built. Symbolically, this gate represents a portal between our world and the ancestral world. I chose the Chinese idiom 落叶归根, “falling leaves return to their roots,” as the title to invite you to join me in finding our way back to our roots, our ancestors, our histories.

    Over the coming months I will cover the gate with a paper skin, each sheet containing a note to the ancestors. Anyone can participate by writing a message, in person or online. On Friday, December 18, the gate will be burned as part of a public ceremony, opening up a connection across time and space.


    当我得知Remai Modern坐落于20世纪初的唐人街时,我的项目概念“落叶归根”就开始形成。当我对这段被经常忽略的历史有了更多的了解时,我注意到我与早期的中国移民有了情感上的联系,虽然我们并没有亲缘关系。大约在同一时期,我的父母给我讲述了一些关与马来西亚的中元节习俗,比如焚烧纸像作为奉献给祖先的祭祀品。这就振奋我产生了一种幻化形式为祖先灵魂的交流的方式。



    在接下来的几个月,我会把纸张贴到牌楼的模型,每张纸上都包含一些送给祖先的信息。任何人都可以亲自或在网络留言来参与。 12月18日(星期五),牌楼会作为纪念焚烧仪式,从而打开跨时空的联系。


    Curated by Rose Bouthillier, Curator (Exhibitions)

    策展人: Rose Bouthillier (展览)

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