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Farewell to Meng Haoran at Yellow Crane Tower

Barbara Campbell

Performed by Barbara Campbell and Yu Bao Di, Minto, New South Wales, 2010, DVD, no sound
Screened at: New Work Old Tricks, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (30 April - 7 August, 2011)
Curator: Susan Gibb

Farewell to Meng Haoran at Yellow Crane Tower is a video document of a performance Campbell made as part of SiteLab 2010, a project of Campbelltown Arts Centre. For two weeks Barbara used a vacant shop in Minto Mall as her studio.

“The starting point for my project was a T'ang Dynasty poem by Li Bai that I often carry around with me in the form of Chinese calligraphy printed on a canvas tote bag. I understood nothing of the poem or the poet when I was first given the bag in 2008. Since then it has acted like a passport to open up conversations with Chinese nationals both in Sydney and Shanghai when I visited there in 2009. Each conversation adds another layer to my understanding of the poem. At Minto, the poem led me to Mr Yu Bao Di, whom I met through his son, Raymond Yu, a Chinese therapist in Campbelltown. Raymond thought I'd like the company of his father who is devoted to his daily practices of calligraphy and gardening. Over three days of painting words together in my shop/studio we built an easy relationship that led quite naturally to this performance of painting the poem in two languages. By sitting opposite each other we could maintain our individual cultural habits (turning pages different directions) while, as in a mirror, moving sympathetically together.”1

  • 1. Barbara Campbel, Artist Statement, 2011
9:36 minutes
Farewell to Meng Haoran at Yellow Crane Tower, – via Vimeo