A River of Migration

“A River of Migration,” a mixed-media installation, 150 cast white plaster salmon fish, 150 pair of white sucks, solo exhibition at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, Friday Harbor, Washington, USA, 2016

“A River of Migration” addresses migrant histories, as well as contemporary issues revolving around them today. The river is a metaphor for the mixing of cultures and diverse identities. Salmon grow up in small mountain-streams, navigating larger rivers to the ocean; until eventually returning to these small streams, their minds and bodies transformed. I traveled through the Yangtze River, over the Pacific Ocean, and eventually reached the Fraser River. I found myself engulfed by a different culture, like the salmon forced to adapt to changes in water salinity. We both learned to survive and thrive. My journey is like many others, not just emigrating from China but relocating globally every day. Migration flows like a salmon run; there is a tie between migrants who carry the strength of the river, not of fresh water but of culture and change.


Gu Xiong

July 2016