Performance Space and West Kowloon Cultural District (Hong Kong) have been engaged in an ongoing residency exchange, supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, since 2018.
The Performance Space x West Kowloon Exchange Residency is an evolving program offering an exciting opportunity for an Australian artist working in experimental performance to expand their practice and networks into the Asia Pacific. Residency artists received financial support towards their creative development as well as curatorial and producing assistance and mentorship from both organisations.
Current Recipient: Rainbow Chan
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a producer, vocalist and interdisciplinary artist of Hong Kong-Chinese descent, living on Gadigal land. Her practice engages with mistranslation, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. She is currently researching women’s oral history, folk songs and language with a focus on her ancestral ties to Weitou people, the first settlers of Hong Kong.
The Work: Bridal Laments
哭嫁 or “Bridal laments” refer to a female custom that was performed by the 圍頭 (Weitou) people, the first settlers of Hong Kong. As marriages were arranged, becoming a bride signified a kind of death for a woman. Not only would her ties to her natal home be severed, but she would remain an outsider to the groom’s family.
To mourn this profound sense of loss, Weitou women would perform a bridal lament cycle before their wedding day, a ritual which involved singing and weeping in front of family and friends over the course of three days. Since this tradition ended in the 1960s, the last group of women to embody this knowledge are in their 80s or 90s today.
Rainbow has Weitou ancestry through her mother who never learnt the laments. To learn more about this ritual, she’s been working with elderly Weitou women in the Caritas Lung Yeuk Tau Community Development Project over the last few years. On this residency with Performance Space, Rainbow will be developing musical works which reimagine the bridal lament through a diasporic lens.
Information surrounding the 2021 residency will be updated here. To stay up to date with all our Artist Development opportunities subscribe to our e-news and our social channels. Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
2018: Chris Williams
2019-present: Rainbow Chan