Lindy Lee: The Seamless Tomb - Art Collector

Lindy Lee, The Four Immeasurables, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf

In The Seamless Tomb I have chosen only one image to work with - a photo of my mother and father with my eldest brother. It presents a seminal moment in my family’s history. The year is 1946, China is in ruins after the end of Japanese occupation (WWII) and is on the brink of civil war which will eventuate in the Communist Party winning power in 1949. In the photo my mother is pregnant with my second oldest brother. Caught between war, revolution and poverty, my father has been offered the opportunity of coming to Australia, but because of White Australia policy my pregnant mother and brother are not allowed to go with him. The image is haunting - it is filled with my parents’ painful uncertainty about the future and the very human qualities of sacrifice and resilience. War, revolution and Australian government policy will prevent the reunion of my mother, father and two brothers for almost a decade. The ripple effect of a single action never ceases to amaze me. My father steps onto a boat and the future of the family is irrevocably changed. Human history is made up of innumerable small decisions whose consequences are immeasurable.

Being born Chinese in a predominantly white culture gave me pause when I was growing up. I had to reflect very deeply on how I could live an authentic life when my primary experience of ‘being’ was of schism between ancestry and birthplace. In my early work I appropriated European masters as a method of interrogating the meaning of belonging. Eventually this evolved into questions of identity and ‘self’ in the world. In the 1990s the use of family portraits began to seep into my work. This coincided with my embrace of Buddhist philosophy, especially the Zen foundational question is ‘what is self?’. Meditation as the primary investigative tool provides the experience of porous expansiveness that transcends, in fact explodes ego constructions of self. ‘Who’ and ‘What’ we are extend well beyond the boundaries of skin. Individual form results from a reciprocal exchange between inner and outer, self and other. Meditation is the intimate and direct contact with this flow of being.
-Lindy Lee, 2017

Exhibition Opens: 6pm-8pm, Friday 22 September 2017
Exhibition Closes: 14 October 2017
Location: Sullivan+Strumpf, 799 Elizabeth Street, Zetland NSW 2017
Contact: +61 2 9698 4696
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