Dimen in Transition
January 11 - February 3, 2012
The village of Dimen, home to the Kam people of China, has been secluded from the world for countless generations. This isolation has allowed the Kam to develop a unique culture and maintain their ancestor's heritage without interruption. Now, the tumultuous changes of modernity have begun to reach Dimen, and over the past several decades the Kam have found themselves caught in between maintaining their cultural roots and assimilating the values of mainstream Chinese culture. In an attempt to preserve the old and document the new, students and faculty from the Department of Art and Graphic Design (formerly Department of Visual Arts) here at Pacific have captured the changing times in photography, film, writing and drawing.
Professor Marie Lee, whose passion for the Kam culture spearheaded this project, presents research into the intricate and secret arts and crafts of Dimen's matriarchs. Professor Jennifer Little contrasts the lives of traditional village families with their counterparts, who left the village for the city. Student Joanne Kwan explores the lives of young Kam people, reflecting on her own roots and defining the role of cultural identity and preservation of cultural values in today's terms. Finally, student Anastasya Uskova provides a brief, unfiltered glance at the village as seen through the eyes of Kam children using a disposable camera for the first time.
Together these projects explore a world both beautiful and rugged, and Dimen's transition, physically and culturally, into a new age.
See also the Kam Minority Archive on Scholarly Commons, an online archive of the Kam Minority peoples and heritage from the collected photographs and video of Maria Anna Lee, her associates, and University of the Pacific Students.
University of the Pacific and Lee, Marie, "Dimen in Transition" (2012). Reynolds Gallery Exhibits Archive. 92.