Sweeping Away Evil: W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater
By Emily Mock
文: Emily Mock

Residency Coordinator Clara Lu makes paper cuts with community members in Columbus Park for a W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater free workshop. Image credit: Mei Lum // 在W.O.W.的免费『皮影戏院』项目上,驻地项目协调员Clara Lu在哥伦布公园和社区成员们一起做剪纸. Mei Lum摄

Before February 16th this year, I will mend my clothes, cut my hair, flip my mattress, sweep the floors, and prepare myself and my spaces to regenerate and receive the good will of the new year. A large part of celebrating Chinese New Year is performing actions that expel the bad luck and evil spirits of the old year while opening space to the new year’s good luck. We sweep our homes to sweep away evil. We come from legacies of confronting evil to realize power and healing for ourselves and our communities.


Landyn Pan, He, Dominic Wong, Clara Lu, Huiying Chan, and Emily Mock (left to right) practice using blade knives and Chinese scissors during a W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater workshop. Image credit: Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez // Landyn Pan, He, Dominic Wong, Clara Lu, Huiying Chan, and Emily Mock (从左到右)在『皮影戏院』作坊上练习采用手工刀和古式剪刀. Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez摄

W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater is a community project in Manhattan Chinatown centered on the question “what do you do to sweep away evil?” From October through January, as the 店面 Storefront Artist-in-Residence, I held workshops in the Wing On Wo studio and Columbus Park, teaching paper cutting and shadow puppetry. Participants made their own puppets and devised short plays based on a memory, practice, tradition, or imaginary about how they sweep away evil. These plays were filmed and can be viewed in a month-long storefront window installation at Wing on Wo & Co. at 26 Mott Street NY, NY. It opens on Tuesday, February 13th from 7-9pm.

『皮影戏院』是一项服务曼哈顿唐人街的社区项目。它专注的问点是:“你怎样扫除邪恶?” 当作一位『店面驻地项目艺术家』,我从10月到1月的期间在永安和的工作室和哥伦布公园举办了一系列的剪纸和皮影戏作坊。参加人员根据记忆,实践,习俗,或幻想里的画面,创造了关于扫除邪恶的短剧。有兴趣的读者欢迎在永安和的店面安装里观看这些短剧的影片。店面安装的开幕设于2月13日,晚上7点至9点。

Four year-old makes a paper cut, assisted by her father and Clara Lu.  Image credit: Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez // 四岁的 在父亲和Clara Lu的指导下做剪纸 Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez摄

Paper cutting is a deeply old art that has its roots as an intergenerational and communal activity practiced across classes and regions. As an artist and educator interested in what heritage means creatively, I see my role as facilitating time, space, community, and resources to support Chinese diaspora in accessing ancestral arts of paper cutting and shadow puppetry.


Rocky Chin speaks to the audience of the Sweeping Away Evil Panel on January 25, 2018, featuring panelists Donna Mah, Jes Tom, Melanie Wang, Muriel Miguel, and Fay Bonas and moderated by 店面 Storefront Artist-in-Residence Emily Mock. Image credit: Eric Jenkins-Sahlin // Rocky Chin在 2018年1月25日的『扫除邪恶小组对谈』面对观众发言。小组对谈嘉宾由于Donna Mah, Jes Tom, Melanie Wang, Muriel Miguel, Fay Bonas,与『店面驻地项目艺术家』主持人Emily Mock。Eric Jenkins-Sahlin摄