May 2011 I met Ben for the first time in my life. He was my assistant during the installation of my two shows "Reflections Part I" and "Reflections Part II" at CasualLocations in Xiamen. It turned out to be a perfect cooperation and we became friends.
Back home in Holland Ben and I stayed in contact by sending emails now and then and so we kept in touch. In one of those emails Ben wrote me about a dream he had: 'Together we visit my hometown, than you make art about it and after all my hometown becomes world famous'.
April 2012 I returned back to Xiamen and Ben and I decided to really make this trip to his hometown (Hubei).
The days before we left I caught a bad cold, with high fever. I worried: should I really make this trip? I was afraid that far away from Xiamen my asthma would strike again. I didn't want to cause problems to Ben. Otherwise I really couldn't say 'No' anymore: the tickets were bought, Ben had taken his days off. So we left. 18 Hours by train. For five days we were intense together, 24 hours a day.
Back in Xiamen I decided to make art about this trip for a show at the Tan Kan Kee Museum of Art. I started to make little drawings. Some of them became large sized paintings in black and white, others became bright colored paintings in smaller sizes. About what I experienced during our trip, about the stories Ben told me, about my inner thoughts and feelings and even about memories these events evoked in me.
In a way it became a double 'going home': Ben visited his hometown again, I revisited my own past by drawing and painting.
Of course not everything has to be memorized. Only highlights and some of the most impressive images found their way out and wanted to become 'art for the audience'. I decided to make little stories in response to the paintings, so that there would be no mistakes about the intentions of the works. Sometimes words make things more easy, sometimes however they makes things more complicated.
The project 'going home' is realized during an Artist Residence at the Chinese European Art Centre in Xiamen and designed for the art students at TKK College in Xiamen
The travel report 'going home' is digital printed in Xiamen, edition 50 copies.
Design and lay out: Benjamin Sea.