Something Before and After 'Island'
My heart could not stay on the shore, instead choosing to remain floating amongst the waves.
There is a huge life within the Ocean. The Ocean stirs with excitement as you approach him. And when his waves return to him, he flaunts more and more of his power. Gradually, I become conscious.
Through changing patterns and color, the seawater attracts you. Soon you cannot stop asking yourself: am I playing with the Ocean?
Before I began painting <Land>, I found two large rocks as I crossed the open sands. I placed down my painting materials and felt complacent as the Ocean extended itself to a rock beside my feet. Of course my feet were sometimes splashed by the waves! I chose my colors and began to draw the scene before me, remixing with colors that had appeared in my dreams. The sound of the water slapping against the rocks was my accompaniment. I was deeply intoxicated in the scene and forgot to escape from the water. A large wave quickly approached and drenched me. I tried to stand up, but the waves returned, sweeping two of my brushes into the Ocean. My mouth felt full of salty Ocean water. I steadied my painting and my palette and grabbed ahold of my remaining brush so that I could return to the beach. I turned my head and found that somebody had brought me my pigments!
When I returned to the beach the next day I noticed the waves had submerged the top of the rock I had been sitting beside previously. The oysters around the rock spat bubbles happily after the waves went back to their home. I thought that maybe I’m an oyster too.
I later finished my painting with joy. The Ocean is mirror that reflects the colors and changes of the sky and clouds. The shallow waters along the Ocean’s shores, speckled with the rocks and sands, constantly change in shape and color as the tide rises and recedes. The spray of the Ocean pierces the surrounding air, breathing life into all organisms.
—Yelan Shanghai 2009.6