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Long Way Ahead

A visual research about the characteristic of the early migants of British Chinese

‘Most Chinese people have never developed beyond the oral stage of Freud’s theory and have the mental age of a six-month-old.‘ 
——Wu Zhihong (a Chinese psychologist) 

Long Way Ahead starts from questioning the phenomenon of the rising up of Chinatowns around the world, which might be a result from the collective nature of the ethical group. The project uses British Chinese, especially those who landed UK and entered into catering industry in 1970s as a case study to explore the question.


It explores the difficulties of early Chinese immigrants integrating into the local culture. I attempts to apply the potential cultural psychology of Confucianism and the effects on the values and behaviors of the ethnic group, including the desire for symbiosis with the same, the responsibility of filial piety to the previous generation, and the being outstanding obsessive-compulsive disorder in the spirit of raising offspring. 


It questions the displacement between the personal ideal and the actual situation caused by the financial urgency of early immigrants. The work extracts elements from the basic life of British Chinese who entered the catering industry and converts them into images in the form of monotype. Graphical elements are reconstructed into imaginary spaces.


The installation defamiliarizes Asian tableware. It complicate and blur the cultural narrative of the object by using basic tools to imitate the appearance of the other and change the customary placement habit. It reveals the subtle transformation in the immigration process for adapting to the new place of residence, which thus reflects this process will inevitably cause the partial loss of the original cultural characteristic.

© 2021 Chenyue Yuan