Lantern Stories, 2022
Yu-Wen Wu / 吳育雯
The Greenway Conservancy is thrilled to announce the re-installation of Lantern Stories by Boston-based interdisciplinary artist Yu-Wen Wu, a public artwork comprising thirty one lanterns that celebrate the past, present, and future of Boston’s vibrant Chinatown community. First commissioned by the Greenway Conservancy in 2020, Lantern Stories was beloved by the Chinatown community yet also faced scheduling restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 2022 iteration of Lantern Stories on The Greenway, Yu-Wen Wu designed new imagery for her previous lanterns Lions, Stop Asian Hate, and Exclusion Act, as well as worked with artists from both Boston and San Francisco to create five new lanterns that begin a bicoastal dialogue with Wu’s concurrent West Coast iteration of Lantern Stories in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Lantern Stories celebrates the past, present, and future of Boston’s vibrant Chinatown community.
Lanterns represent light and guide the way forward, illuminating darkness and uncertainty. From their beginnings as candle flames surrounded by bamboo, silk or paper, lanterns have become an integral part of celebrations that foster hope and pave the way to a brighter future. Featuring colors important to Asian and Asian American cultures, the lanterns symbolize happiness and good fortune (red) and prosperity (gold).
Originally created as a series of thirty-one lanterns in 2020, artist Yu-Wen Wu returned to Lantern Stories in 2022, updating the artwork to reflect the realities of the current moment, while still centering Boston Chinatown’s history of immigration, its culture, and resiliency. The images on the lanterns relate the long and fraught history of Chinese immigration in the United States. From early arrivals during the California Goldrush in the 1850’s, to the unprecedented events of the past few years, the lanterns share visual stories of how Asian Americans have confronted inequities on multiple levels. Other lantern images celebrate culture, art, calligraphy, music and performance, as well as the community’s strong commitment to education, entrepreneurship, and social justice.
Through the creation and inclusion of 5 new lanterns featuring the work of Boston and San Francisco-based artists, Lantern Stories’ expands its focus beyond Boston’s Chinatown to explore the impact of Asian American communities nationally, particularly around areas of civil rights.
For Lantern Stories 2022, Yu-Wen Wu created new imagery for three of her previous lanterns: Lions, Stop Asian Hate, and Exclusion Act. In addition, nominated artists from Boston and San Francisco lent their artwork to the creation of five brand new lanterns, yielding works from Yuko Okabe (Boston), kathy wu (Boston), and Christine Wong Yap (SF); Fred Liang (Boston), Lucy Kim (Boston), and Summer Mei Ling Lee (SF); Joanna Tam (Boston) and Lenora Lee (SF); Ponnapa Prakkamakul (Boston) and Cathy Lu (SF); and Phillip Hua (SF) and Wen-ti Tsen (Boston). She hopes to create more collaborations between Chinatown communities in other cities with additional lanterns in the future.
With the re-installation of Lantern Stories 2022 in Boston as well as a new iteration of the project in San Francisco, Wu’s work generates unique opportunities for bicoastal dialogue on immigration histories, social justice issues, and the exchange of these communities’ stories and the arts.
《燈籠故事 2022》新增了5盞燈籠，圖案並包括了幾位波士頓和舊金山藝術家的作品，主要探索全國亞美社區歷來爭取民權的影響。這些藝術家包括 Yuko Okabe（波士頓）、Kathy Wu（波士頓）和 Christine Wong Yap（舊金山）； Fred Liang（波士頓）、Lucy Kim（波士頓）和 Summer Mei Ling Lee（舊金山）； Joanna Tam（波士頓）和 Lenora Lee（舊金山）； Ponnapa Prakkamakul（波士頓）和 Cathy Lu（舊金山）； Phillip Hua (SF) 和 Wen-ti Tsen (波士頓)。 吳亦為3盞燈籠更新了圖案，加入了新設計的獅子、停止反亞仇恨、和排華法案的圖像。吳希望日後能與其他城市的華人社區合作，增加燈籠。
隨著 《燈籠故事 2022》於波士頓和舊金山展出，吳的作品為兩岸有關移民歷史、社會公義及兩個社區的故事和藝術製造了獨特的對話和交流機會。
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Wu arrived in the United States at an early age. Her life experiences as an immigrant are central to her artwork which lies at the intersection of art, science, and politics, encompassing social and cultural issues and engaging the community as she develops new work. Focusing on areas of migration, Wu examines issues of displacement, arrival, assimilation, and identity. An interdisciplinary artist, Wu’s artwork includes site-specific video installations, large-scale drawings, sculpture, and public art.
Before installing Lantern Stories in Chin Park in Fall 2020, Wu had worked with Boston’s Chinatown community on two projects: With/Out Water (2018) and Leavings/Belongings (2018-20). From the success of Lantern Stories, Wu was invited to create a concurrent iteration of Lantern Stories for San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood, which will also open in Fall 2022.
“With the creation of a new Lantern Stories for San Francisco’s Chinatown, opening in the Fall of 2022, I hope to expand the focus of Lantern Stories beyond Boston’s Chinatown and explore the impact of the civil rights struggle on Asian American communities nationally,” stated Yu-Wen Wu. “I look forward to creating a dialogue between these two cities on immigration history and issues of social justice.”
In addition to Lantern Stories, Wu completed several site-specific works in 2022 including We Belong, a light-based public art sculpture sited in East Boston and supported by Now + There and the Transformative Boston Art Grant; Of Gravity and Light, a collaborative production for the Des Moines Ballet; and The Poetry of Reason, a permanent wall sculpture for the Tufts University Cummings Center. Wu’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and was shown most recently at the 2022 Independent Art Fair in New York City. Her work is included in several private and public collections.
吳育雯生於台灣台北市，早年移居美國。 身為移民，她以移民生活經歷啟發她的創作，探索有關科學、政治、社會和文化等題材。她就移民主題，研究逼遷／遷離、到達、同化和身份等問題，並在創作過程與社區合作。 作為一位跨學界和多媒體藝術家，她的作品包括影像裝置、大型繪畫、雕塑和公共藝術。
在展出《燈籠故事》前，吳曾兩度與波士頓唐人街社區合作展出公共藝術《水／缺水》(2018) 和《別離/包袱》(2018-20)。 在《燈籠故事》成功展出後，吳獲舊金山唐人街的邀請，為他們創作獨特於舊金山華僑社區的《燈籠故事》系列。此作品會於 2022 年秋季開幕。
除了《燈籠故事》外，吳於今年完成的作品包括《We Belong》，一個由 Now + There 及 Transformative Boston Art Grant 支持的燈光藝術裝置； 《Of Gravity and Light》，一個與Des Moines芭蕾舞團的合作作品；及《The Poetry of Reason》，一個在塔夫茨大學 Cummings Center 的牆壁雕塑。 吳的作品有在國家內外展覽，最近期並於紐約市獨立藝術展上展出。 她的作品有被私人和公共機構收藏。
An interdisciplinary artist, Yu-Wen Wu (she/her) works at the intersection of art, science, and politics, encompassing many social and cultural issues. Her artworks include site-specific video installations, large-scale drawings, sculpture, and public art, frequently engaging the community. Wu has worked with Boston’s Chinatown community on two previous public art projects: With/Out Water (2018) and Leavings/Belongings (2018-20). Born in Taiwan, Wu lives and works in Boston.
吳育雯是一位跨學界和多媒體藝術家。她的創作探索有關科學、政治、社會和文化等題材。 她經常與社區合作，作品包括影像裝置、大型繪畫、雕塑和公共藝術。 吳曾兩度與波士頓唐人街社區合作展出公共藝術《水／缺水》(2018) 和《別離/包袱》(2018-20)。生於台灣，吳現居於波士頓。
Photo Credit: Edward Boches
The Greenway Public Art Program is exclusively funded through grants and private sources, including the generous support of The Barr Foundation, Rebecca A. Lee, Goulston & Storrs, TD Charitable Foundation, and the Boston Cultural Council/Reopen Creative Boston Fund administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.