In the performance, "Wǒ zhǐshì yīgè hòudài.(I am just a descendant)". I filled a traditional Hakka farmer's straw hat with Mandarin oranges and proceeded to give them out to the Hakka people in the village of Guangzhou, Guandong, China. I then walked to the Canal and read out loud the story of the three major voyages of the Hakka Chinese that sailed out to the Caribbean in the 1800's while switching the flags each time.
The text read: "Most Chinese Jamaicans are Hakka; they have a long history in Jamaica. Between 1845 and 1884, nearly 5000 Hakka arrived in Jamaica in three major voyages. Most came to Jamaica under contract as indentured servants. The terms of the contracts made free return-passage available for any Hakka who wanted to return to China. Most of them did. In 1854, 205 Chinese workers who had been working on the Panama canal arrived in Jamaica. They had demanded re-settlement due to the threat of yellow fever in Panama. Many were ill upon arrival in Jamaica and were immediately hospitalized in Kingston. Fewer than 50 of these immigrants survived - the rest died of yellow fever. I am just a descendant." (Sources:
Note: Hakka who live in Guangdong comprise about 60% of the total Hakka population. Worldwide, over 95% of the overseas-descended Hakka came from this Guangdong region.
Wǒ zhǐshì yīgè hòudài.(I am just a descendant.), 2012
Performed at GUANGZHOU LIVE International Art Festival (Open Situation),
Guangzhou, Guandong, China
My recent body of work entails images of birds some of which are endangered in our global natural landscape. These birds in peril range from the Red Knot, to the Spoon- billed Sandpiper, to the Scrub Jay.
The Red Knot, a species on the brink of dying out due to global climate change and industrial fishing of their food source of horseshoe crabs as bait notably by the Delaware Bay in the United States for pharmaceutical testing and human consumption of other shellfish. It is a similar situation for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper as a large population of them stop for migratory rest by the polluted and disappearing mudflats of the Yellow Sea. Diminished bird populations are partially due to industrial fishing of their main food source for human consumption. The migration of these bird species is also widely affected due to their food source not being of ample supply in their usual stop off locations. In the case of the Scrub Jay, a native bird of Florida, U.S. their endangered status is the fault of commercial and residential properties being built upon sites in Central Florida, the only place suitable with a specific ecosystem for their food and natural habitat.
I am hoping that by addressing these issues in this body of work I can raise awareness to their endangerment.
These works consist of paper cutouts of birds whose images are carefully selected and scaled to their actual size. The cutouts are then laminated and strung with fish line and arranged in formations such as; a flock of birds in space, symbolic of their natural placement of birds in the sky. Their one sidedness and repetition is only a positive reminder of their presence while the blank sides is a representation of their absence in our natural world.
"The Presence of Our Absence" (Bird Series), 2012
Mixed Media Installation.
In the performance, "Loss", 2012 I walked around in a circle a few times fanning myself, (this created a little movement of the birds), laid my scarf down on the floor, then I laid on it. I placed the fan on my chest and cried. This slow movement from walking to crying represented a slow deterioration of the state from life, to mourning, to death.
The birds are cut out photocopies of the Broad Billed Sandpiper whose population is rapidly declining in recent years here in Korea and other Asian countries due to seafood harvesting and pollution, etc. These birds, like other shore birds are globally threatened and in a state of ruin.
The following site states:
“For example, in South Korea, the Mangyeung and Dongjin River estuaries each supported 5% of the combined estimated Flyway populations (and are the most important sites for this species on both northern and southern migration) but they are currently being reclaimed as part of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project (Barter 2002, 2005c). The 33 km sea-wall across these two estuaries was completed in April 2006, resulting in significant change in the 40 100 ha area (Barter 2005c).
Reclamation is also a threat in other areas of the Flyway, such as in Malaysia (Wei et al. 2006). In addition, water regulation and diversion infrastructure in the major tributaries have resulted in the reduction of water and sediment flows (Barter 2002; Barter et al. 1998).”
I also thought of vultures circling over dead animals in the rural countryside that I grew up seeing in my homeland, Jamaica. "Loss" is also referring to the Jamaican pronunciation of the term "lost". Here I was- physically lost by walking in circles.
I intentionally created the image of ruined make-up when I was done crying.
The installation of the birds remained in the space.
'Loss' was created for (a site-specific residency project using the theme of RUIN in Incheon, Korea.)
Performance. 5 minutes. Paper, monofilament.
“One one coco full basket, Chicken merry hawk deh near”
(English Translation: Every little bit adds up. Danger is often looming when you are having fun.)
The day is beautiful, the sun is shining and everything is wonderful. Suddenly the skies are black; the wind picks up and blows things away. Life is suddenly threatened for everyone and everything. In the piece “One one coco full basket, Chicken merry hawk deh near” Lyn-Kee-Chow performs as the nature lover who tries to put the pieces back together after the storm.
Inspired by nature walks and smelling flowers by the roadside in her homeland, Jamaica, Lyn-Kee-Chow addresses global warming and the number one enemy, with the man versus nature theme. In the meantime fragments of the natural world accompany her and end up in an unforeseen destiny.
Performed in Gwangju, South Korea for Gwangju International Media & Performance Art Festival.
"One one coco full basket (Chicken merry hawk deh near)", 2012
Performance. 20 minutes. Digital sound component, paper boxes, organic matter, paper, monofilament, fans.
"Food for Thought", 2012
Performance. 15 minutes. A collaborative performance by Rafael Sanchez and Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow
Performance proposal: Food For Thought at Exit Art April 6, 2012
Performers: Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow and Rafael Sanchez
Abstract: To make a powerful statement about gender inequality in modern society- particularly the art world both performers begin with a portrayal of equal opportunity. As accidents happen the order of events begin to take a turn but hopefully not for the worst.
Procedure: Both artists will begin the performance in business attire standing about several feet away from a suitcase. Both performers will take two to three steps toward the suitcase, but an egg will fall from Jodie’s undergarments and spill onto the floor. While Jodie is cleaning up the spilled egg, Rafael will grab the briefcase and begin to hang art on the wall about seven to eight feet from Jodie’s cleaning action. Once a painting is hung on the wall, Rafael will walk behind the wall, and Jodie will finish cleaning up the egg and begin to imagine she is working as a successful artist and business woman- this is where the projector comes in; she will imagine herself having a successful career and making brilliant and inspiring art. This imagined reality will be projected onto the wall where the art is located.
After one minute of imagining another life, Jodie has disposed of the egg and changed into clothing that symbolizes domestication- that of a house wife. Rafael then reappears from behind the wall and hangs another piece of art on the wall. This time Jodie senses his presence and begins to resent his career as an established artist. She lies on the table and becomes restless as he hammers the nail in the wall to hang the art. As he hangs the second piece of art, mounting it with force and authority, Jodie leaps from the table and throws a bowl filled with fruit onto the floor. Rafael becomes angered by this and becomes belligerent in response to her outburst. As he walks toward her, she picks up an apple from the floor and shoves it into his mouth. They go back and forth for about a minute arguing using hand gestures and noises. He becomes fed up and walks behind the walk again with his suitcase. This time Jodie places the wooden bowl under her domesticated clothing to signify pregnancy. She walks around the room rubbing her belly and allowing others to touch the wooden bowl under her clothing. Projected behind her are more images of her success as an artist and business woman who curates incredible shows.
The final time Rafael appears from behind the wall, Jodie tries to thwart his mission to hang the art. She throws fruit at him, rips his jacket off of him, and knocks the hammer from his hand. He ignores her and continues. While this takes place, other images are projected behind the two. These images will comment on the inequality and discrimination women experience in the art/ business world. After two minutes of struggling, Jodie tries to take the suitcase away from Rafael. They both pull on it until papers fly out of the suitcase. These papers contain facts about the uneven playing field of female and male artist.
Rafael and Jodie will distribute the papers to audience members.
Dressed as an airline pilot the artist interviews members of the audience, asking what they would think of if they had only one minute to live? They are then invited to a conference room where the messages are played out loud by the artist's tape recorder. While messages are played they are hand-written by the artist and flown into the air as paper airplanes.
Performed for Living Walls Performance Art Festival, Albany, NY.
"Messages in Air", 2011
Performance. 2 hours. Sound component, paper.
In the site-specific and relational performance “Bon Voyage” the artist will ask messages of the public. At some point after the messages are collected they will be read out loud by the artist and then sailed off into the water. Like ‘messages in a bottle’ these messages are departed and are carried away by the ocean’s unpredictability to either sink or arrive in unknown territory.
Performed at Lumen Festival, Staten Island (by the Ferry Port), NY.
"Bon Voyage", 2011
Performance. 3 hours. Paper.
In a performance inspired by Hana Kotoba, the Japanese language of flowers and the Victorian era florigraphy - a soliloquy takes place by the artist using flowers not only to express sentiment but also as a means to unite people from both East and West.
• People are invited to participate and to take flowers at the end of the performance.
Performed exclusively for A.I.R. Gallery's Japan Earthquake benefit. NY, NY
"The Language of Flowers", 2011
Performance. 10 minutes. Digital Sound component, flowers.
"Sweetly Sour", 2011
Performance. Durational. An ongoing collaborative performance art project with damali abrams
“Sweetly Sour” is a collaborative performance between artists Damali Abrams and Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow. Wearing only the color pink from head to toe symbolizes their overly girly sweetness. While with a cheerful demeanor Damali and Jodie roam the streets to find people from all walks of life and approach them distributing little papers of the most unexpected phrases and social commentary. These phrases include: “Your art sucks!”, “Teach me to be hip like you.”, “Your outfit is too derivative.” “Sweetly Sour” comes at a time when people are just so busy and are often caught of guard that often times their faces grin. Who doesn’t need a laugh every now and then?
During our performance as part of a tART collective art project damali and I hit the streets of NYC wearing only pink. Together we hit the art fairs during Armory Arts week and even a T-Mobile store in midtown surprising people of all walks of life. We also handed out candy to those who said hi to us!
We are in the process of making an edition of books with our phrases.
"Crop Killa", 2010
Performance. 15 minutes. Sound component, bananas, toy guns
‘ Crop Killa’ is a performance that narrates a transformation of time from the 1970’s Jamaica to the present through character change and audience participation. Sounds and images of a bountiful and humble past prelude a situation of crime, poverty and a lack of government.
Globalization’s affect on third-world nations has resulted in a series of loans to these countries that has made it difficult to get out of. Jamaica’s former Prime Minister Michael Manley was forced to sign a loan agreement with the IMF in 1977 due to no other alternatives. This affected the Jamaican farmers and local businesses, as they were restricted to tough regulations and no longer able to compete for better prices with US imported goods. How can this nation re-build and be self-sustained?
While the banana industry is only one example of the economic downfall of Jamaica, the local farmers and their inability to compete with larger US owned companies affected in the livelihood of the average Jamaican. The farmer once able to successfully sustain a family is now affected, as there is not much work. Life has become more difficult to send their children to school. Now many of the younger generation now look to the streets. A higher crime rate is the result.
This performance shows a gradual contrast from a Jamaica with a modest past to a more present situation of Jamaica’s reputation for drugs and violence. One example being the recent newsworthy event of drug lord, Michael Christopher Coke a.k.a. ‘Dudus’ capture and his involvement with distributing money to the community called Tivoli Gardens, in West Kingston.
There was a musical component to the piece including songs, 'Day O' by Harry Belafonte, 'This is Life' by Grace Jones, 'Look' by Bounty Killer, and sampled sounds from Passa Passa.
Sound assistance provided by Tal Rickards.
Costume designed by Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow & Michael Walls, John Ashord.
"Gypsy Picnic (#3)", 2010
Performance. 1 hour. Picnic blanket, wine, food, basket, wine opener, masks. Performed with Jenowade DeCardo Lewis.
Guests are invited to join one at a time on the picnic blanket. They are offered some wine or food by "her Majesty' (the artist). 'Her Majesty' wearing a mask whispers to her host’s ear and he translates it by reiterating out loud for the whole gallery to hear. ‘Her Majesty' never speaks to guests. She decides if they are given what they ask for.
Gypsy’s Picnic (#3)
15 minute performance piece for or a sculptural piece for "5 Objects"using: a mask, a bottle, a tool, a natural object and a blanket.
Food like art unites people. “Gypsy Picnic” is a video and performance artwork in which its post performance can remain as an interactive installation. The performance aspect of the work is ideally staged at a public park with green grass and a few trees, however a gallery setting can just as well accommodate this picnic. Using the 5 objects, a mask, a bottle, a tool, a natural object and a blanket I will perform by sitting on side of the picnic blanket interacting with a member of the audience. The objects of my choosing are: (mask) mask, (bottle) wine, (tool) wine bottle opener, (natural object) fruit, (Blanket) picnic blanket.
Masks will be worn by both the performer and the invited performer (guest) before they enter the picnic. By conversing with someone over a bottle of wine, cheese, and fruit, I will ask them questions that may or may not be intimate. Only one person is allowed to sit with me at a time on the picnic blanket.
'Gypsy's Picnic (#3)' was performed live at MEME gallery, Boston, MA for the show "5 Objects".
"Piece of Pie", 2010
Performative installation. Collaged vinyl picnic blankets. 2 blankets. 40" diameter.
Another good reason to gather people would be over sharing food, drinks and you know good conversation. Food, like art unites people. I enjoy picnics for that reason. The occasion of a picnic is a perfect summertime leisure activity that one can do outdoors (or indoors).
I am really into kitsch and kitsch tablecloths for that matter. Kitsch objects find their way in my work from time to time. I think I was inspired by my grandmother’s décor back in Jamaica while growing up. I found her house full of kitsch. When I say full I mean full of texture, color and tacky at the same time. Nothing really went together. As a result of this nostalgia, I started collecting these vinyl tablecloths at the dollar store. I love the dollar store! The dollar store is like a toy store for me. I also loved the idea of fusing these tablecloths together to form the ultimate wacky tacky kitschy tablecloth. So I did just that. I made a few variations of these circular ones titled “Piece of the Pie”. They were like the same but different. They were a good sewing and mathematical exercise for me. I liked how they mimicked pie slices at the same time. Then they became small functioning tablecloths that people could sit on and enjoy a picnic. They were featured in a few tART shows along with food, wine, and picnic baskets. (tART is a women’s artist collective in NYC of working women artists who focus on community, group art critiques, and a great support network). At the tART shows people were invited to participate in their own little picnic in the gallery while the show was going on. I figured its summer, why stand and drink wine in the heat when you can sit and relax? So, people gathered, ate, drank and shared their thoughts on them.