Kerry Ann Lee: Return to Skyland

Artist Kerry Ann Lee invites you to enter a dreamscape transit lounge. An installation accessible to ticket holders for Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality.

When | Āhea

15 Dec 2018 – 22 Apr 2019

Where | Ki hea

Inside ‘Terracotta Warriors’, Toi Art, Level 4

Cost | Te utu

Included with ‘Terracotta Warriors’ ticket


All ages

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • wheelchair accessible

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

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.

Find out more about the objects she selected

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.

Distant resonance

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

machine-shops, printers;

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.

Kerry Ann Lee, 2018. Photo by Jack Fisher. Te Papa

Kerry Ann Lee, Distant resonance, 2018, (still) digital video. Image courtesy of the artist. Featuring lines from the poem Looking over Sian at night, 1954, by Rewi Alley and images of objects from Te Papa’s collection

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