Wennie Huang

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Ueoio
by Wennie Huang

I titled my piece, Ueoio, which are all of the vowels in Puerto Rico. This is an oblique reference to Circe’s island, which is called Aeaea – all vowels Ueoio is a visual mixed media meditation addressing the devastation of Hurricane Maria/climate change on Puerto Rico with symbolic meaning attached to various materials and imagery in the box:

  • Camera lens: witness, documentation and surveillance
  • Butterfly: migration, transformation, and also harbinger of climate change
  • Orange Peel Cube: the word for “Chinese” and “Mandarin orange” is the same in Spanish – reference to my ethnic heritage and connection to Puerto Rico and language, it is also on the label of the tiny vial of orange essential oil
  • Orange and White Thread: Reference to ball of thread Ariadne gave to Theseus to find this way out of the Labyrinth
  • Box / The Greek Slave (that opens to reveal gold coins in a red bag and also medals in the colors of the Puerto Rican and American flag) with original watercolor I painted from observation from behind of Hiram Power’s 19th century sculpture, “the Greek Slave” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing Sculpture Court: https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/summer16/droth-hatt-intro-to-the-greek-slave-by-hiram-powers-a-transatlantic-object
  • Water Image below the Plexiglass (under he box): from a photograph taken at the Atlantic Ocean while I was on a small motor boat off the coast of Cape Cod
  • Wall of Trees are from photographs I’ve taken of trees in Greenwood Cemetery, a Victorian cemetery steps away from my home. The trees are pasted deliberately upside down and sideways.
  • Ceramic Bird: the messenger, the raven, fossilized-the canary in the mine

There are moveable elements: – the camera can slide horizontally and the orange and white spools turn to raise and lower the orange cube and vial, as well as to open and close the box. The butterfly can also move and rotate on top of the box.


The combination of interactive elements and symbolism is a meditation on connections between mythology, humanity, nature and our current climate change crisis, and how our collective past is a messenger, a harbinger of the present times.

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