Neo Hua Ren: New Diaspora in London

August 29th - September 3rd 2019
The Crypt Gallery

  • Jan Chan
  • Whiskey Chow
  • Yifei Gong
  • Yushi Li
  • Yolanda Y. Liou
  • Kitty Mai
  • Yingming Chen

Hua Ren (华人) is a wide term representing overseas residents of Chinese
descent, including those from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The Chinese diaspora in the United Kingdom is fragmented and reflects a complicated history of drastic transformations experienced by the Asian world in the past century.

Today, a younger generation, which has inherited the complexity of its origins,
infuses it with a different approach formed according to the new reality: in the
post-internet world, where everyone is ‘connected’, the concept of a separated,
ethnicity-based community is questioned as a mode of living. The exhibition
celebrates the openness and diversity of the participating artists. It poses
questions: What does ethnic identity mean in a globalized world? Do the young
diaspora still face adversity arising from the concept of ‘otherness’ and/or
‘Chineseness’? How has the internet and the ease of technology brought about
unexpected social complications? The show aims to unfold a wider, more complex
view on the contemporary life of the Hua Ren.

Taking place in the Crypt of St Pancras Church, the show opens up a conversation
between artists, who share their aesthetic and conceptual opinions through a
variety of mediums. The surroundings of an Anglican church in the very center of
London enhance the idea of immigration and complicated relationship between the
city, steeped in tradition, and its inhabitants. The Crypt, a basement space,
structurally entangled and shaped as a maze, embodies a non-linear structure of
the post-modern world, which the contemporary diaspora was formed in, and
reveals different layers of narratives of the exhibition. Whiskey Chow, who
addresses cultural preconceptions of Chinese identity and female masculinity
through her performances, inevitably engages with the concept of a female body
in a suppressive environment: either Christian church or contemporary
patriarchy. Being immersed in the video installation by Gong Yifei, the viewers
see the familiar environment of a shopping mall as a dystopian setting and
explore the notions of contemporary living: the concept of the private and the
public, the self and the other, safety and surveillance. Privacy as a vague
intangible concept is addressed by Jan Chan who creates ironic and playful
photographs with the use of color and texture for the final imagery. The focus
is shifted from society to an individual in the Selfie series by Kitty Mai. She
uses ink and paper to produce works that reflect the post-digital era and the
way human beings are influenced by new technologies. A different side of living
in the digital age is explored by contemporary photographer Yushi Li: she
addresses questions of gaze and reversed gender roles, exploring male
representation as an erotic subject in light of social media. Yolanda Y. Liou
experiments with the medium of photography and presents a wide range of works,
showing her work as a fashion photographer, her artistic experimental
photography with the use of different materials and a deeply personal research
on the modern concept of beauty. The exposition comes to an end with a
large-scale installation by Yingming Chen, who combines materials and techniques
associated with traditional Chinese culture and contemporary aesthetics.

The opening reception will be held at the Crypt Gallery, 165 Euston Rd,
Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BA, 6-9 pm on August 29th, 2019.

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