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Jul 20, 2023 at 7:30 pm

The Land Will Wake Up
and Devour Us

With Yehui Zhao & Lynne Sachs

We’re delighted to bring you an evening of cinema and live performance with multimedia artist Yehui Zhao, curated by artist Tara Aliya Kesavan.

As an immigrant born in China and living in the US, Yehui thinks of film as her third language. Her work takes root in the intimate family histories of her mother and her grandmother. Their feminist legacies create openings for her to contemplate their experiences within broader political contexts like migration, decolonization, feminist movements and generational love and heritage.

Her films present a collagic view of time as they travel easily between her own memories, historical events and dreamtime. To express these complex temporal dimensions, her work seamlessly employs performance, stop motion animation, puppetry, cyanotype prints, paintings, drawings and poetry. Yehui creates an inimitable visual world, one that lulls and startles all at once.

We can’t wait to share her rich and expressive oeuvre as we screen three short films as well as a never before seen excerpt from her in progress feature film Xi Jiao Gou. We’re also thrilled to include a live reading of Ride Home, an illustrated essay by Yehui, published by the Brooklyn Rail earlier this year!

We are so lucky to have longtime collaborator of UnionDocs, the beloved and brilliant Lynne Sachs in conversation with Zhao after the event. Both artists’ fiercely feminist practices strive to translate how personal experiences often have sweeping resonances within broader historical contexts. They demonstrate a singular commitment to exploring the body as well as stretching the film form into a hybrid ground where anything may happen. This is a conversation you don’t want to miss!

Doors at 7:30, show starts at 8PM.


Xun (寻)

3 min. | 2020 | HD single-channel video

Xun (寻) means “to search” in Mandarin. A surrealist journey of locality and time, Xun is an exploration of distance, home and invisibility.

To You

9 min. | 2021 | HD single-channel video

A letter written by a daughter to her mom about their diasporic womanhood and daughtership. Using drawings, cyanotype, old photographs, live action, and stop-motion animation, the film provides a lens through which home can feel both close and foreign.


20 min. | 2022 | HD single-channel video

The filmmaker and a mannequin explore the world through its solar terms. The mannequin embodies the soul of Lin Heier, the leader of the Red Lanterns who resisted and fought colonial invasions during late Qing Dynasty, China. Through poetry and performance, the filmmaker resurrects and unravels the many layers of Hei’er’s spirit. They relive a life of love and revolution.

Xi Jiao Gou

A work in progress | 30 min.

The filmmaker revisits her great-grandfather’s now empty village Xi Jiao Gou in Loess Plateau, China. Through the landscape she finds her family’s sweat and blood, love and resilience that spans four generations.

Ride Home

A live reading of an essay published in the Brooklyn Rail

The author travels in the belly of a mother sperm whale on her way to a seven-day quarantine at a hotel in Fujian Province en route to visiting her family in China.


Yehui Zhao is a multi-media artist, whose work explores land and its people, folk memory and history, womanhood and love. Yehui’s films have been shown at DOC NYC, Prismatic Ground, Asian American International Film Festival, Festival of Animated Objects, Timeless Awards, Microscope Gallery and other programs. Yehui is the Art Director of 128 Lit, an international art and literary magazine. She is currently working on her first feature documentary Xi Jiao Gou. 

Since the 1980s, Lynne Sachs has created cinematic works that defy genre through the use of hybrid forms and cross-disciplinary collaboration, incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, documentary and poetry. Her highly self-reflexive films explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. With each project, Lynne investigates the implicit connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself. From essay films to hybrid docs to diaristic shorts, Sachs has produced 40 films as well as numerous projects for web, installation, and performance. She has tackled topics near and far, often addressing directly the challenge of translation — from one language to another or from spoken work to image. These tensions were investigated most explicitly when Lynne produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Germany, Israel/ Palestine, and Italy – sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions.

Tara Aliya Kesavan is an interdisciplinary artist and educator from India, working across film, animation and sculpture. She is an MFA candidate at Hunter College, CUNY’s Integrated Media Arts program. She works as the Programs and Communications Coordinator at UnionDocs.

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Jul 20, 2023
7:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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