Carry On Homes is group of five artists from five countries: Peng Wu (China), Shunjie Yong (Malaysia), Aki Shibata (Japan), Preston Drum (USA), Zoe Cinel (Italy) united by a motivation to raise awareness of social issues through the creation of artworks. This diverse group of individual artists were first brought together by their mutual association with the designer, Peng Wu and photographer, Shunjie Yong who were creating a documentary photography series about immigrants in Minnesota. With the introduction of behavioral artist, Aki Shibata, multi-media artist, Zoe Cinel and installation artist, Preston Drum, the team was tasked with expanding the photography project to encompass interactive installations. The group won the Creative City Challenge in 2018 providing the opportunity to create a public artwork for display in the Commons park of downtown Minneapolis, MN. While each member of the group maintains an active solo practice they continue to work as an artist group advocating for social issues.
CarryOn Homes create art projects that build community and facilitate cross-cultural dialogue. Carry on Homes is a team of four artists from four different countries: Peng Wu is from China, Preston Drum is from USA, Shun Jie Yong is from Malaysia, and Aki Shibata is from Japan. Being an artist group primarily composed of immigrants, we have experienced the difficulty of adapting to a new cultural context and looking for a community while maintaining a sense of identity. Being an immigrant in USA is a difficult yet humbling and empowering experiences. Drawing on this experience we create platforms, that are accessible to all communities and that offer a sense of belonging to those who are disenfranchised.
This year we successfully completed a public art project entitled, CarryOn Homes at The Commons (COH), with funds awarded by the Creative City Challenge 2018. While working on the production, we were also developing relationships with immigrant communities in the Twin Cities (Indigenous Roots, Hope Community, SEAD: Sound East Asian Diaspola, and among others). These partnerships brought to light many questions, most centrally: how can we as artists and immigrants, better serve our communities? What can we do to make them feel welcome in unfamiliar locations? How can we help them tell their own stories? COH at The Commons became a house where walls do not divide, but act as a vessel to carry stories and meaning.
We believe in the power of art to connect people, therefore we have been focused on creating art projects to share the spaces and resources with communities who are historically and systematically not encouraged to participate in the arts. We produce a visually powerful and interactive art where people can embody empowerment. Not only we create visual art object we organize community events, poetry readings, dance gatherings, community meals, workshops and many more. The Carry on Homes team’s approach to art making is to construct platforms for interactions and act in service of the community to offer an experience beyond the materiality in the conventional artmaking.