FAITH XLVII Brings Wrought Reality into Focus
Hong Kong is one of the busiest and most packed places in the world. With nearly 17,000 residents per square mile, Hong Kongers are stacked on top of each other in record numbers. But in the middle of that concentration, there is a void, a vacuum, and it drew FAITH XLVII into its gravity. “My fascination with abandoned spaces has led me to an expansive and desolate five-story apartment block in central Hong Kong,” she explains. The result of her enthrallment is the latest installation of her video series ‘Aqua Regalia,’ a meditation on how human stories collect in space and leave their residue on everything the touch, living and stasis.
As a muralist FAITH XLVII, expresses her relationship with spaces in unique ways, reshaping them with paint and imagery to comment on where she is and what that location is doing. But in ‘Aqua Regalia’ she gets to communicate what she sees, and interact in a more collaborative (and presentational) way. Throughout the video, we hear pieces of the stories that lead back to this empty building, and whether or not they’re the true stories of this space, they collect into a compilation that feels immediately familiar even if the stories are told in Cantonese.
While FAITH XLVII was creating the video with co-director Dane Dodds, they collected the detritus left behind from the abandoning residents and made a piece in remembrance of the stories that could only be imagined in the absence of the tellers. “We created a shrine that allows for the ceremonial gesture of the personal narrative as sacred,” FAITH explains. “The short film documents this process as its starting point as we weave the images of the building with the nuanced interactions outside in the city.” Residential buildings are naturally a cistern for human stories, acting as a repository for every life that passes through those spaces – existing as a space for living one day, and abandoned the next. Their existence is the result of lives, not the focus of them, and it is those shadows that FAITH offers us in ‘Aqua Regalia.’
“We experience these two disparate realities as interlaced,” FAITH tells us, reminding us that we only ever truly know half the reality we confront and imagine the rest. But each part is as real as the other.
Faith47's Unlikely Home for New Beauty
All speech is a political act - and so is silence. Any action we make is a confirmation of our being, and the expression of that is to declare humanity and give it voice. Speech and art are actions, giving shape to hope or dreams, and shedding a light in corners that are too often dark. Just recently, muralist Faith47 traveled to Goa, India to produce a series of public art pieces that she calls “La Petite Mort,” which translates directly from the French to mean “the little death.” The figurative translation is a little more eyebrow raising, but we’ll let you figure that out for yourself.
In “La Petite Mort,” Faith picked busy and richly textured street as the canvas for hand painted lotuses, a flower whose metaphysical identity reaches far beyond the botany - and the lotus is especially richly referenced in Hinduism, a dominant religion in India. But these lotuses weren’t just about connecting chakras or crossing your legs in the right way. This is about looking to the natural world for a way to heal ourselves. “The lotus, while rooted in the mud, blossoms on long stalks floating above the muddy waters,” says Faith. “This ability for something so strong and pure growing out of dirty water is symbolic of our struggle despite the chaos of life to find our own strength and spiritual clarity. As drops of water easily slide off its petals so too should we not allow the challenges of this life to damage us internally.” Verily, we could all stand to stand up straighter, speak more clearly with more beauty, and let the rest fall away below the heights to which we are climbing.
Photos by Zane Meyer and Faith. Video by Zane Meyer.