People in a pool of light

Ahn Lee, "Cocoon Performance," 2021; 45-minute live activation; photo by Chani Bockwinkel

Ahn Lee

Graduate Fellowships, 2022 - 2023
UC Berkeley

portrait of Ahn Lee standing in profile in front of a circle artwork, one arm upraised.

Artist Statement

As a queer person of Sunwui ancestry I am constantly yearning to uncover my family’s roots, and the history of the wider community of my family’s ancestry. Sunwui or Xinhui was a major 19th century port of Chinese laborers. Archival research—through both institutional and community archives—is a catalyst for my work. I think often of Saidiya Hartman’s critical fabulation and seek inspiration from the limits of academic archives, and the experiences of Cantonese elders. My work aims to create a contemporary Chinese mythology of a future where we can emerge from racial violence amidst a global pandemic with power and grace. It is a wishful project in which I process the hysterics of Cantonese American history through a new diasporic mythology of the silkworm.


While at Headlands

As a Headlands Graduate Fellow I will be working on a new series of site-specific work exploring the historical, conceptual, and theoretical connection between early Cantonese immigrant laborers and caves, specifically in the North Bay. I am looking forward to joining the supportive and inspiring Headlands network. Maintaining a studio at Headlands will provide me with inspiring space and community to develop work, build generative and collaborative relationships, and deepen my practice and relationship to the history of the land.