The 2023 Lunar New Year marks the year of the Black Rabbit which occurs once every 60 years. In the Yin Yang Five Elements, black represents Water, which also signifies the concept of all-encompassing grace and inclusivity. BREAKING GROUND is an exhibition by Carissa Te-Hsuan Chu to celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year and serve as a conceptual opening ceremony of the Lone Fir Cemetery Block 14 Cultural Heritage and Healing Garden. Presented by Augury House, BREAKING GROUND also provides a platform for other Asian artists to exhibit their festive artworks. By celebrating the New Year, we want to remind the public the virtue of grace and the beauty of harmony, bringing light for the year to come.
The Block 14 section of the Lone Fir Cemetery is an acre-and-a-quarter plot of land that shelters the remains of early Chinese railroad workers . Purchased in 1891 by the City & Suburban Railway, the site became known as the “Chinese Burial Ground” and was set aside for the early Chinese sojourners who built much of the foundational infrastructure for the Portland Metro area. Originally, the bodies interred at Lone Fir were to be held temporarily until their families could arrange to bring their bones home to China to be buried with their ancestors. For a variety of reasons, many of the bodies remained at Lone Fir, forgotten.
BREAKING GROUND responds to the context of Block 14 through installations, workshops and an interactive livestream by utilizing the mediums of prints, videos, new media, and audience-participatory activities. The artworks will be exhibited at the mezzanine, the ground floor, as well as the PGE Gallery of Portland Center Stage during January 21st through February 5th. For more information on the Lone Fir Cemetery and Portland Center Stage, please visit the following links: