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The Wuhan Artist Exploring How Differently Hubei and London Responded to COVID-19

A Hubei native based in London, Liang Xiao uses four different artworks to contextualise the pandemic in both her hometown and in her current home of Britain.
August 18, 2020, 3:07pm
'From Wuhan To London' Liang Xiao
Throughout August, VICE UK will be spotlighting projects from graduates across University of the Arts London.

Every summer, University of the Arts London holds physical showcases for their graduates. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, everything for 2020 has been moved online, to UAL Graduate Showcase – a virtual platform created with IBM, hosting work from thousands of students across art, design, fashion, communication, media and performing arts.

Throughout August, VICE UK will be spotlighting projects from graduates across the six colleges that make up University of the Arts London.

Artist: Liang Xiao

As an artist and Hubei native based in London, Xiao faced COVID-19 both in her hometown of Wuhan and in her current home of Britain.

Her project focuses on the pandemic, using daily reports from friends and family locked down in Wuhan, alongside her own experiences of self-isolation and lockdown in London. She created four artworks that seek to understand this unique situation: a performance film, a handmade book of photography, 14 posters and four stories, and an interactive light installation.

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

“The way I communicate with the outside world is news, social media, some other people’s comments, and chat,” she says. “The acceptance of some information makes me often very confused, and I often don't know [what is] true or false. Friends and people in the United Kingdom reacted differently because of my Hubei and Wuhan identity.”

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

“I conducted research into viruses based on their types, transmission routes, growth trends, development scale and results,” she continues. “In my artwork, I want to bring together the different narratives of science and human experience in the time of COVID-19. I explored the diversity of viruses to show the social, political and philosophical nature of the crisis, connections between the outside world and individuals, and differences within capitalist society.”

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

'From Wuhan To London' by Liang Xiao

“Given the limitations of working in my small room with limited access to equipment, I filmed a performance on my balcony. It tells both a personal narrative and a more universal exploration of balconies during lockdown, documenting the space and its human occupant socially, historically and from an architectural viewpoint.”

Discover more at the UAL Graduate Showcase.