Meiyi Chen


Class of: 2026

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Wire sculpture

Faculty: Alison McNulty

Prompt: The goal of this project is to present my cultural project in space through a series of processes with wire and one extra material of our own choice.

As someone who has been absorbing Chinese philosophy for most of my life, I have been engaged in traditional celebrations and other kinds of cultural activities, leading to my understanding of the importance of lanterns. Back home there is Lantern Festival that uses them to “promote reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness”, they frequently appear at other larger nighttime celebrations in China. Also, they exist in a lot of cultures (which gives me the possibility to combine cross-culture features to resemble cultural shock), and most of the time they represented guidance and a sense of security, relating to my personal experience: when I’m still in kindergarten I made one for myself and slept next to it every night until it was one day nowhere to be found, I had always missed the times that I still had it protecting me from nightmares. I combined both eastern and western essence into the design of a lantern, when people look at this lantern for the first time, they would probably feel perplexed: where exactly does this lantern come from? This is exactly a reflection of myself—after experiencing cultural shocks throughout my life, I no longer feel like being tagged with stereotypes of who I am supposed to be; on the other hand, I feel lost and don’t know how I should identify myself too. But this lantern would guide my way, it is just like me, a cultural chimera, but it doesn’t have to be explained to be good, and I should feel the same. I am just one of the children belonging to mother earth, one tiny fragment of this myriad and brilliant world, and so are you.