Almost a year ago, I applied for the Hong Kong Human Rights Art Prize and was awarded by the jury with the Eaton Award. As the recipient of the award, I was given the opportunity of a one month Artist Residency at the newly built Eaton Hotel in Hong Kong. But as my work focuses on movement, I thought why not move myself, “why not Eaton in Washington DC”. And just like that, I was well-received in the US like my proposal to Eaton’s team.

Portrait in the Eaton Studio. Photography by Mignon

Packing 4 pieces of my installation works of embroidered dancers named Bejart, I flew to Washington DC without a clear path for what my residency would be. Things happened spontaneously and during my first week I managed to set up 2 exhibitions. The first show was following an unexpected but welcomed meeting with a local photographer named Mignon with whom I ended up collaborating. She assisted me with the installation setup at Arboretum and photographed the floating embroidered dancer silhouettes In-Situ. Following this first show, quick discussions led to the second exhibition that took place at the Eaton DC Hotel. I must thank Deirdre (Eaton DC’s Curator) for embracing the idea and quickly dealing with the curation. This opportunity gave me the chance to connect with local artists like Jamilla Okubo, Lloyd Foster and Jordan Labbeart to name just a few.

Bejart, Washington DC, 2019. Photography by Mignon 

Having shared my art and connected with local artists, I gave myself a moment to think about what would be next. I wanted to make the most of this city so I made it a rule to visit at least one museum a day. In the midst of inspiration I also engaged in wonderful creative conversations with Eaton DC’s team members. They oriented me to other connections they had in order for me to talk about the new performance and sculpture ideas I was exploring. A special thanks to Kurt from Eaton House whom connected me with his New York and Los Angeles buddies. It allowed me to pitch to them my dance/performance project ideas and get their valuable feedbacks.

My remaining time in DC was spent in fulfilling discussions. During a radio interview with the Caandorlab Team we discussed inspiration , the creative process and what I believe to be the pillars that support artist expression – the heart, mind, and gut. They asked me questions about my exploration of movement through different media (primarily through fabrics and textiles) and about my recent Bejart installation inspired by the French choreographer bearing the same name (which is currently still on display at Eaton DC and so until the end of September 2019). We concluded these talks during a final radio interview where Deirdre,  Fati and I  spoke about my practice and my experience throughout the one month spent at the residency.

A successful residency should not be defined or measured by productivity alone, but rather by one’s growth. My month spent in the US capital was a mixture of connections, collaborations, and inspiration. Even if I were to produce nothing tangible, having the time to spend each day thinking about art, being exposed to inspiration, and making new connections, I believe was a residency well spent.