This series of drawings and paintings explores the history of the Kaiping Diaolou. The diaolou are late 19th century multi-storey homes located in Kaiping county, Guongdong, China. Constructed like a fortress or watchtower, these defensive buildings were designed to protect against theft and banditry. Listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the diaolou are significant for their distinct fusion of architectural styles, exemplifying the impact of emigration in regions such as South Asia, Australasia, and North America.
Inspired by the architecture of the diaolou, the drawings and paintings depict silhouettes and faded renderings of the buildings. They highlight structural features such as domes and towers that also allude to influences of imperialism. Their hybridized forms attempt to ‘decapitate’ the model of the tower, to reconfigure their efficacy as vessels of power or escape. When seen in isolation, the amorphous forms engage viewers to project their own associations, offering alternate readings to more direct forms of representation.
ArtOmi – Pondside Press Prints
Photo credit: Blaine Campbell