Started in 2012, Social Botany is a research-based project using a Keywords methodology to combine social studies and artistic practice. One of the past studies was made in an area of the PRD, Guangzhou, where the Tanka people live. The Tanka people are from the traditional fishing villages of Southern China. They have lived on boats and the water for hundreds of years. Therefore, they are unable to own land. After 1949, the Tanka people underwent a significant change. They moved into an agricultural life, possessing land-use rights, but they lost them again in the 1980s, so they had to return to living on the water. The latest problem they face is the increasing pollution of their water environment. The Tanka people are losing their basic living, and they have to discover a new way of life. Using my show at OCAT in Shenzhen, which included workshops with activist students and urban farmers, I brought the plight of the Tanka people to their attention and generated lively discussion on the theme of land use.
Shenzhen, China, September 7, 2023