In 2016 Yu-Wen Wu and Harriet Bart presented Crossings, a meditation on the forced global displacement of more than 65 million people. This was exhibited at the Perlman Teaching Museum at Carleton College, Northfield, MN.
In their research and preparation for Crossings, they became increasingly aware of the special circumstances of women and children. According to the UNHCR, approximately 51% of refugees are women and children. Abduction, rape, sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation are some of the problems faced by these refugees.
In 2018 Yu-Wen Wu and Harriet Bart spent the month of February at Yaddo as artists in residence. While they began work on a new art installation in response to their previous research, this new project, Leavings/Belongings, focuses on the unique hardships endured by women and children as they flee war and famine and face issues of resettlement.
Leavings/Belongings, consists of anomalously shaped cloth wrapped bundles representing all that is left behind—home, family, possessions and what may be carried in migration—survival, hope, dreams.
This project is an opportunity to bring various refugee/immigrant communities together to make “bundles” and tell their stories of leaving their native countries and the difficulties of resettlement in the United States. If they choose, participants and their bundles are photographed and stories recorded.
With this project Wu and Bart have been reaching out to various organizations working with communities in our respective cities. Bart through the auspices of the Minnesota Humanities Center, have reached out to the Somali community. Wu has been working with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Centers, the Southeast Asian Coalition, and organizations in Maine. She is currently the Artist in Residence at the Pao Art Center further developing the Leavings/Belongings project.