Re-presenting Boston's Chinatown as Place of People–Then and Now
"Home Town” is an art project that supports the movement in Boston’s Chinatown of the last several years to counteract the extensive urban developments and gentrification that is threatening the integrity of the community. The project uses two forms of visual art to represent the people of the past and present Chinatown to confirm their historical "home" connection with the place:
(1) Presenting History: 12 sets of painted life-size, cut-out figures, reproduced from historical photographs selected from the archives of Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), the project’s partner, are deployed for several weeks in the streets and public spaces of Chinatown.
(2) Representing Now: a photo-station, with a historical-based backdrop, is set up at varying times and locations during the display week; residents, working persons, and passers-by are encouraged to pose formally and have their portraits taken, creating a new photo album of the diversity of the community with some 275 portraits. There was no instruction except that they could feel a power in themselves.
Since its inception of the project in the streets of Chinatown in 2016, the figures and the photos have been exhibited multiple times in different venues in different locations, many with easy, common access for a number of immigrants, making for an affirmation of their being.