Sophia Liu, SURGING TIDE, April 11, 2023

Congrats on your solo exhibition Days Later, Down River! Art takes on different roles depending on its curation and position, and for this exhibition, you decided to incorporate a banig. How do you hope to contextualize the banig in this exhibition? 

The banig is the central object in the exhibition. When you walk into the gallery, it's the first thing that you see.The banig is loaned from the University of Michigan. It was an object that I had encountered when I was there back last May when I was doing research. I wanted to incorporate something from that collection for a couple reasons. One of them was to fold it into the show and have it be in a centralized location. Traditionally, a banig is a handwoven mat used for sleeping on. A woman probably hand wove it, and it’s probably been sitting in the archival collection for a long period of time. I don't know when the last time it was touched by human hands or taken out of its drawer.

Part of me wanted to just take it out of the archive and bring it to the public. While I've known about Michigan’s collection for many years, I had never seen it because it isn’t all that accessible. I wanted to give it a different context, have people have a chance to see an object from the collection, and recontextualize it as an object that is made for rest and for gathering. I'm thinking about that in terms of coming together around the object, but also resting as a memorial to the people who made that banig or the people who it was taken from.


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