One night in a dream, Kerry Ann Lee’s father journeyed from Wellington to Xi’an to see the terracotta warriors.
Inspired by the idea of physical and spiritual journeying, Lee has created a ‘dreamscape transit lounge’; a space where visitors to the Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality can rest and ponder before continuing their own journey through the exhibition.
The installation features Distant resonance, 2018, a video work by Kerry Ann Lee that uses images of Chinese objects from Te Papa’s collection.
The work also includes lines from the poem Looking over Sian at night, 1954, by Rewi Alley – a New Zealand writer who lived in China for 60 years.
Return to Skyland has been developed in response to the exhibition, Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and will be accessible to ticket holders only. A maximum of 30 people can be in the room at once.
Between 12–3pm on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the exhibition, Kerry Ann Lee and Te Papa invite ticket holders to enjoy a cup of tea in the lounge.
Kerry Ann Lee would like to thank Colin Lee, Denis Clode and DAC Group, Chris Ulutupu, and Sam Buchanan.
Looking over Sian at night
by Rewi Alley
In ordered rows
the street lights glitter;
sound of a flute comes
through the evening air;
city of so much bitterness,
of bombs, famine, wars everlasting,
of great Imperial tombs
that look always down on her.
Now, after dusk do peasants
come and look at the rich
colours of towers, illuminated,
reconstructed in all their
ancient glory; and as they
see it all, so do they feel
they themselves count again.
of power hammers, heavy breathing
of steam engines in railway yards;
and one thinks back on
the jails, the concentration camps,
corrupt governors, co-operatives;
the people who tried, warm, human,
ever seeking a way, and now
that way has opened out for them.
Down all those side streets
are craftsmen, busier than ever;
the canvas-weavers, makers
of carts, ropes, harness; the
truck-repairers, welders, little
these, and all the others
who have stayed through
all the years, and all
the tears, now see the mist
clearing away, and the road
lying straight ahead.
Sian, the Changan of old, with
the many Emperors, courts,
people’s risings, reformers,
upstarts, merchants of death,
the good and the bad, but
with each upsurge an ever
pressing for action, looking
as does a flood of water
for the way.
Sian today, with bright lights,
level streets, schools, factories,
the Sian that has come to stay.
Sian, May 18th, 1954.
Every effort has been made to trace the copyright owner for the poem Looking over Sian at night, 1954, by Rewi Alley. Te Papa would be pleased to hear from the copyright holder. Contact us via enquiries.