On The Other Side of Sea 
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Wen-Li Chen

RESIDENCY 蘭斯柏勒鎮駐村計畫
Statement 創作陳述

“On the Other Side of Sea” is the project that continues to bridge with the previous series of work that attempts to explore and examine the meanings of being women in between different generations, families, and even nations with family archival materials, including photographs, interviews, along with reflections. It is also an attempt to reveal some complexity of being Taiwanese indigenous women living in different sociocultural environments without knowing the mother tongue but deeply feeling connected with their pride and culture rooted and influenced by their grandparents during growing up.  

During the residency at Lanesboro, I worked between the home studio and places at Lanesboro to sort out both sides of family archival photographs and materials from Lanesboro, including interviews, conversations, documentation, videos, and pictures. While sorting out those materials, being far away from family with limited reasons to be together, and reflecting on my recent life experience of being a mother, I thought about the life journey as being human from newborn to the groups until having new branches or another new beginning, the cycle between nature and us, the wholeness giving with care and love, similarity in terms of family life when we tried to document the moment that it may means something to the person that decided to take pictures of, and how to bridge the physical distance if possible.

The ocean splits us into two continents far away, and the river/water connects us again while being present in front of Lanesboro Stone Dam. The memory from the past is flashed back and blurred when time passes without knowing. But the similarities within the love and care from the family are there when a new life comes the way. Even though the memories are blurred, the invisible solid support of the family continues to connect without separation, borders, and limitations.

I feel grateful and privileged to be present, reflect, and express what the new life means to a new immigrant mother with a newborn in a new country.

— Wen-Li Chen, March 2023

   24°10′N 121°20′E