To The West Of The Solitary Sea

Tony Mak

The great-grandfathers are watching you.

You live in a modern house where there is no longer an altar for them. You no longer offer them incense on important days. You abandon their houses and villages. You raze their land and rebuild a new world. On a day when you find yourself drifting in rapidly changing modern life without understanding who you truly are, it is your late great-grandfathers who are haunting you.

Religious rituals and photography share a similarity - they are both about searching for eternity in our private history. Every year on this spring day in early April, the uphill graveyard is still turned into a misty and mysterious wonderland as before. People still bring roast pig, fruits and wine here, carefully repaint their great-grandfathers’ names on the tablet and burn stacks of fake paper money. The ceremony becomes a conversation between the two worlds: the one with the sacred and the one with the profane.

The truth is, they never left. You just need to speak to them again.

Artist biography

Tony Mak (b.1991) is a Cantonese-Chinese artist-photographer based in London, whose works investigate the cultural landscape and community history.

My photographic works often concern about regional history and perceptual experience, as I am interested in the conflict between local cultures and rapid modernisation development.