Thrity-two foot long scroll depicting vignettes from the migration of Chinese citizens displaced by the contruction of the Three Gorges Dam (of the Yangzi River) in China. To be read from right to left, the design utilizes classical Chinese landscape painting style, watercolor ink printed with more than 500 hand-carved pear-wood printing blocks on traditional xuan zhi paper (made from blue sandalwood bark and bamboo and straw fiber) and mounted on silk. The production of the scroll was a collaboration between the artist and Beijing's Rongbaozhai studio and was facilitated by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Translation of the Colophon Text:
The taming of the waters by Yu the Great took place in the remote past, but every year, flooding is still a danger along the Yangzi River. The populace on both sides of the river has been severely harmed by it. Early in the previous century, Yat-sen put forth the idea of building a dam at the Three Gorges to interrupt flow of the river. Several decades later, Chairman Mao Zedong also promoted this suggestion.
Work on the reservoir finally commenced in 1994 and will be completed next year. The reservoir has a depth of 175 meters and a perimeter of 500 kilo-meters, and it spans the two provinces of Hubei and Sichuan. Oceangoing freighters of up to ten thousand tons will be able to sail directly to Chongqing. The reservoir will promote the economic prosperity of the interior and the problem of power generation for a vast area. It has become a milestone of Chinese construction and a symbol of progress and modernization.
One million five hundred thousand people were displaced from the reservoir. With their own hands, they tore down and moved thirteen cities, one hundred forty townships, and thirteen hundred villages, brick by brick, tile by tile. They had no choice but to leave the homes in which their ancestors lived for generations. Neighbors and friends were scattered to different places. I visited Zigui, Xiangzi, and Fengjie, and personally witnessed the sight of people of the Badong area moving away. Although that was six years ago, I can still see it vividly, so I have made this painting of the dam migration as a record.
-Yun-Fei, in the fourth month of the wuzi year , trans. June Y. Mei
industries; peasants; social commentary; villages; water
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