Title

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Preservation of the Dimen Kam Culture

Format

Senior Art and Design Exhibition

Faculty Mentor Name

Marie Lee

Faculty Mentor Department

Visual Arts

Additional Faculty Mentor Name

Brett DeBoer

Abstract/Artist Statement

In the summer of 2010, I spent five weeks with my professor, Marie Anna Lee, in the small village of Dimen, tucked away in the mountains of China's Guangzhou province. My purpose was to observe and document the ancient crafts practiced by the village's elderly artisan matriarchs, whose children had moved to cities and were not present to receive and perpetuate the traditions. As the artisans died, so did their unique techniques. When I look back at that summer, I am struck with a sense of terrible beauty and contradiction. The struggles the Kam people endure, the treasured heritage they keep, and the limitless nature that surrounds them is unlike anything I'd ever experienced - and I believe that this experience is what can help the Kam preserve their heritage while still growing economically and technologically. My work, heavily photographic at this stage, centers around allowing the international community to interact with the Kam people without interrupting or exploiting them, through the use of photography, storytelling and the creation of a virtual cultural space.Although by no means a solution to the issues the Kam will face over the next decade, immortalizing their culture in a neutral, international, digital space can allow for exposure without the physical deterioration associated with tourism. By bringing awareness to their cultural treasure, both internally and internationally, my hope is that the Kam will be able to rebuild their traditions in a modern context.

Location

Reynolds Art Gallery

Start Date

21-4-2011 6:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2011 9:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 6:00 PM Apr 21st, 9:00 PM

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Preservation of the Dimen Kam Culture

Reynolds Art Gallery

In the summer of 2010, I spent five weeks with my professor, Marie Anna Lee, in the small village of Dimen, tucked away in the mountains of China's Guangzhou province. My purpose was to observe and document the ancient crafts practiced by the village's elderly artisan matriarchs, whose children had moved to cities and were not present to receive and perpetuate the traditions. As the artisans died, so did their unique techniques. When I look back at that summer, I am struck with a sense of terrible beauty and contradiction. The struggles the Kam people endure, the treasured heritage they keep, and the limitless nature that surrounds them is unlike anything I'd ever experienced - and I believe that this experience is what can help the Kam preserve their heritage while still growing economically and technologically. My work, heavily photographic at this stage, centers around allowing the international community to interact with the Kam people without interrupting or exploiting them, through the use of photography, storytelling and the creation of a virtual cultural space.Although by no means a solution to the issues the Kam will face over the next decade, immortalizing their culture in a neutral, international, digital space can allow for exposure without the physical deterioration associated with tourism. By bringing awareness to their cultural treasure, both internally and internationally, my hope is that the Kam will be able to rebuild their traditions in a modern context.