Portrait from the Afterlife

Clem So searches for indentity in Portrait from the Afterlife, the Arts+Culture magazine Plymouth issue cover

Portrait from the Afterlife

Clem So‘s Portrait from the Afterlife is the cover picture to the latest Arts+Culture magazine which focuses on Plymouth’s art and culture scene

Clem, who is taking part in the Plymouth University Arts Degree Show, which opens on Friday, June 11 at the university’s Roland Levinsky and Scott buildings, investigates his own Chinese identity.

His parents settled in Liverpool in 1957, the city he was born and grew up in, and it is that link between his Chinese heritage and growing up in England that he explores. Through his work Clem invites you to meet his ancestors. Images of food, ghost money and terracotta worriers merge as his memory and culture connect with thoughts of the afterlife.

Clem told Arts+Culture: “I am portraying my ancestors, but also through my genealogy, they are also are portraying themselves. Portraying my ancestors and questioning my Chinese identity are not separate. By portraying my ancestors, I am questioning the very core of how I came about.”

Part of Clem’s work is the film Tracing the Intangible.

He said: “I use the notion of Chinese ink as a metaphor for my forever changing state, the expansive possibility of being and for something ancient, before my time that courses through my veins now, but reflecting like a mirror to my inseparable environment.

“Tracing the intangible is an sensation, a yearning, seeking, a sense that I can feel, but cannot touch.”

• Read the Clem So’s feature in the Arts+Culture Plymouth magazine.

For more on Clem and to check out his other work, visit his website.

You can also win a signed, limited edition print of one of Clem So’s works. Check out the Plymouth Issue of the Arts+Culture magazine for how to enter.

Plymouth University Arts Degree Show runs from Friday, June 11 to Thursday, June 24, from 10am until 6pm.