Shadow Gives Birth
hand-cut film, acrylic paint
Various dimensions
Site-specific installation
4-channel animation projection with light and music
music by Andrew Zhou

Commissioned by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 

Shadow Gives Birth is an immersive site-specific installation that consists of 24 hand-cut and painted acetate film scrolls combined with a series of animation projections, soundscapes and an accompanying artist book.  

In my view, shadow is a negative energy and a metaphor for one’s unconsciousness. It is female, receptive, nurturing, and gives birth out of the darkness. The shadow I have created in this work symbolise the manifestation of unfathomable darkness moving towards light to regain life. 

These ideas are part of my continuous exploration of the interplay between light and shadow, life and death, nature and humankind. The white scrolls (2012-3) confront memories, trauma, metaphysics, and the inner world, while the green scroll (2022) responds to recent natural disasters such as bushfires, the coronavirus pandemic and floods.

The 24-metre-long green scroll features among the others, like a new branch weaving through the dark space, bursting into life. I painted this special scroll with multiple layers, then cut it intuitively without any template. Chance plays a crucial role in this work. The immersive soundscape, created by Andrew Zhou, is also integral to the work because it gives the sense that shadows, or darkness, can and is transcending time and space. 

The publication The scientist, the composer, the artist in conversation includes my interviews with scientist Dr Brett Summerell and composer Andrew Zhou. 

Shadow Gives Birth combines science, music and art to manifest the urgency to ensure the survival of our planet and humankind. It shows how we can expand our understanding of ourselves and the world around us by breaking down these boundaries. 

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 
30 July – 16 October 2022