Saam Sing 三星

Saam Sing 三星

A moving image portrait that challenges the Orientalist gaze by reframing East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) diasporic identities.

Eelyn Lee and her collaborators have devised neo-mythical characters inspired by Fook, Luk and Sau – collectively known as Saam Sing – who in Chinese mythology represent fortune, prosperity and longevity. 

Made through a process of collective research, conversation and reimagining, the artist together with ESEA performers, a costume designer and sound designer have created new aesthetics, simultaneously embodying past, present and future. Drawing on lived experiences, ancestral stories and personal cosmologies, performers re-cast themselves as versions of Fook, Luk & Sau. With varying Chinese ethnicities and ancestries in Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, the performers resonate different frequencies whilst creating a polyphony that complicates notions of Asian-ness, Chinese-ness and Britishness.

Saam Sing 三星 marks the first cycle of Performing Identities, Eelyn’s expansive project exploring what it means to be East and Southeast Asian in the UK today. The series is motivated by Eelyn’s dual Hong Kong-English heritage, and began as a response to racism towards ESEA people during the COVID pandemic.

San Xing CU Jacqui Bardelang copy

Performers: Elisabeth Gunawan, Jacqui Bardelang and Eelyn Lee
Costume Designer: Christine Ting-Huan 挺歡 Urquhart
Sound Design: Jane Lo
Cinematography: Winstan Whitter
Production Assistant: Sophia Lee
Edited, Produced & Directed by Eelyn Lee

Completion: 2021-2024
Running Time: 7-mins 38 secs [looped]
Single channel

Originally commissioned by Chisenhale Dance for Encounter Bow and guest curated by Moi Tran, 2021.

Work in progress was exhibited as part of Hong Kong Future Diaspora 香港離散之後 at Bloc Projects, 2022.

The final work, complete with sound, is on display at the Graves Gallery, Sheffield from 17th April - 21st Dec 2024. Forming part of the gallery's Collection Display about Identity, Saam Sing 三星 sits alongside work by Grayson Perry, Claudette Johnson and Hew Locke, amongst others.


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