*This is the second of three writings investigating how art defines home. A sense of belonging has no boundary. It bonds humanity emotionally by securing a sense of purpose and place…
Arriving in Shanghai, the countdown began. The plan was to prep the gallery, frame artworks, translate writings and other various tasks. Despite time zone, language, and culture being vastly different, I adapted with curiosity, caution and hopefully prevailed.
WeChat became my friend quickly. It is a social-media platform widely popular in China and throughout the world. When communicating with the gallery and artists in China, it was WeChat to the rescue. The application has a translate feature which is helpful and convenient. Calling “home” is similar to a newborn schedule. If it is 4:00 pm Saturday in San Francisco, it is 7:00 am in Shanghai. Date and location becomes disoriented.
Chimney Art Center had an installing staff ready to go. Unpacked my luggage filled with art, supplies, and goodies. Time to direct art placement, make sure video installation functioned properly, and start a site-specific piece. This took almost 2 full days and would have been much longer without the amazing assistance of Qianhui De. She offered invaluable feedback while translating my precise instructions.
It was a positive challenge retrieving writings from my fellow Chinese artists. Despite our syntax and deadline differences, it took patience to overcome and meet expectations. This information was vital to bridging the language divide for the gallery and visitors. It would provide context and be a guide for the exhibit.
After all artworks were in place, a few hiccups occurred. A few labels were translated incorrectly and missed information. Qianhui De raced across Shanghai and its 24 million people to retrieve new labels. Closer look at a framed drawing, the plexiglass surface had a blemish. It was quickly replaced and crisis averted. Now to adjust lighting to properly highlight creations. Once finished, the walls’ marks would be painted over and floors cleaned. The opening would be in a few hours…