This public art installation, Lantern Stories, celebrates the vibrant Chinese and AAPI communities in Boston’s Chinatown. Yu-Wen Wu created thirty-one lanterns to illuminate Boston Chinatown’s history, culture, and resiliency. The images on the lanterns relate the long and fraught history of Chinese immigration in the United States, exclusionary policies such as the 1882 Exclusion Act and of the social injustices past and present that the AAPI communities have and continue to confront.
The lanterns also celebrate culture, highlighting the arts, calligraphy, music, and performance as well as the community’s strong commitment to education, entrepreneurship, and family. These lanterns hold the experiences and stories–of the past and present.
Wu created Lantern Stories with the hope that each lantern invites the desire to learn more about the history of immigration to the United States and the racial violence, exclusionary policies, and injustices throughout history and current times faced on multiple levels by the AAPI communities. She hopes it generates civic dialogue, education, and a better understanding among all the different communities.
Yu-Wen Wu, Lantern Stories (Night View at Chin Park, Boston), 2020. Image courtesy of the artist
Yu-Wen Wu is a Taiwan-born Boston-based interdisciplinary artist. Her work lies at the intersection of art, science, politics and cultural issues. The form the artworks take include site-specific video installations, sculpture, works on paper, community engaged practices and public art.
Yu-Wen’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her recent works have been exhibited at the Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis,Mn), The Perlman Teaching Museum (Northfield, Mn), ICA MECA (Portland, Me), SITE (Santa Fe,Nm) and Bienalsur (Cucuta Colombia).
Her regional solo exhibitions include With/Out Water (Boston Ma), High-Water Mark (Portsmouth Nh) and the durational project Leavings/Belongings at the Pao-Arts-Center as the 2018-2019 Artist-In-Residence. Her recent awards 2018Yaddo Fellowship, Science Rising from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the inaugural 2019 Prilla Smith Brackett Award (Davis Art Museum, Wellesley Ma). Lantern Stories, her public artwork commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy at Boston’s Chinatown Chin Park was exhibited in fall 2020.
She will present a new public artwork this year as part of the Now+There Public Art Program in Boston.