A WINTER SOLSTICE PRAYER exhibition Statement

A map says to you, “Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not.”

It says, “I am the earth in the palm of your hand. Without me, you are alone and lost.”

And indeed you are. Were all the maps in this world destroyed and vanished under the direction of some hand, each man would be blind again, each city be made a stranger to the next, each landmark become a meaningless signpost pointing to nothing.

-- Beryl Markham, 1983


Considering map as a form of power-knowledge, Ran Zhou’s solo show A Winter Solstice Prayer focuses on destructing map, while reconstructing its relationship with the imaginary landscape. It attempts to enlarge the humanize aspect of map to reexamine the cultural implication of national boundary and the migration issue happens worldwide. Using black and white as the base tone, this series combines mixed-media sculptures, paintings, and organic plants to tell different stories of migrant, family gathering, and the trauma of illegal border crossing happening at present. Projecting Zhou’s multi-cultural background onto a global vision, A Winter Solstice Prayer attempts to use a metaphorical language to balance the abstract and narrative, while exploring the tension between the heavy social reality and her Chinese poetic romance.


My Home is Your Home, is Where the River Flows#1


Sculpture painting, 35 x 48 inch, 2019


My Home is Your Home, is Where the River Flows#2


Sculpture painting, 30 x 40 inch, 2019

             My Home is Your Home, is Where the River Flows to reconstructs a map centres on the location of Peace Arch Park, which is considered an international park situated at the Canada–United States border. This park is special for not requiring visitors for either a passport or visa to pass through their applicable border crossing so long as they stay within the boundaries of the park. This work is inspired by a story of an Iranian PhD student with a one-time visa in America. For his families who are not allowed to receive US visa, Peace Arch Park is the only place they can meet with each other. After several years of separation, his mom flew to Vancouver, while he went to Seattle, and meet up at the park. They are like rivers flow from far away and converge at a special point of utopian.

            This work rethinks the dilemma of self-identification within the gap of national boundaries. For people who transfer between different countries, even defining themselves as an “international citizen,” once facing different problems about visa, permits, and green cards, they could feel the real restrictions and existence of national boundaries. All of the politics and national relationships decide the circumstances of each individual. For many times, we start self-introduction with our citizenship, while defining each other according to politics. But the question, “where are you from,” becomes more and more complicated to answer.

            Peace Arch Park is a very small park, while its only tourist attraction is an Arch symbolizes a long history of peace between the two nations. On either side of the arch, it has an inscription above reading "May these gates never be closed". And I hope it is not just for these gates.




Display view at Volta Art Fair 2020, Metropolitan West, New York

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