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The Wall Speaks

(July, 2021)

The inspiration of “The Wall Speaks” is first sparked by the conversation between Sarah and her mentor, Dr. Cissie Fu (artist, political theorist, professor at Emily Carr University) on their experience of the coronavirus pandemic. In May 2020, Sarah saw hate language/racial slurs painted on a wall near her dad’s workplace in Chinatown, Vancouver BC. She was terrorized, furious and concerned about her dad’s safety from the startling images and words on the graffiti. She also felt like the walls are “tagged”/“marked” by someone as a territory to keep her away from that space. Later on, Cissie guided Sarah through a spiritual journey in which Sarah was encouraged to re-approach graffiti as an art form, other than a destructive weapon. They talked about the history of graffiti, the ephemerality of graffiti (as it can be painted over), and how graffiti artists use the “unclaimed public spaces” to magnify their unheard stories. Even though it is disrespectful and unethical to put hate language on walls, there is graffiti that inspires, builds, reclaims power, and reignites ambitions. 


Sarah filmed “The Wall Speaks” in the alley on West Hastings and Cambie street with her mum’s help. This time as she approached the wall with ease, she found beauty in the graffiti and she attempted to create a conversation with the walls using her body. She moves with the walls, feeling the shapes, colors, visuals, voices of the graffiti in her body, and finding forgiveness and relief within herself in response to the hateful graffiti she first saw. Sarah captures the two ephemeral art forms (movement and graffiti) and composes them into one long-lived video archive. 

Choreographer/Dancer/Editor: Sarah U

Videographer: Pang Iok Fan

Music: Alex NK & Justin Jet Zorbas - Beyond The Horizon

Mentor: Dr. Cissie Fu

Presented by Quarantine Qapsule BC and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Aug 18th, 2021, Zoom.

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