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For Our Ancestors features new photographic pop-up books by Colette Fu produced during her two-year CFEVA Visual Artist Fellowship. Fu’s pop-ups are a way for the artist to “speak, meditate, express, delight and inform.” Constructing pop-ups allows Fu to combine intuitive design and technical acuity with her love of travel and curiosity about the world around her. Fu states, “With pop-up books, I want to eliminate the boundaries between people, book, installation, photography, craft, and sculpture.”
Fu’s most recent work is based on her ongoing exploration of the ethnic minority groups of China. The country has fifty-five ethnic minority groups making up less than 9% of its population, with the Han representing the majority. Fu’s own mother is from the Black Nuosu tribe. Among other works, For Our Ancestors features an extra-large fifteen-foot pop-up accordion book that tells the story of a relatively unknown fishing contest of the Miao people, inspired by the pioneering pop-up books of German illustrator Lothar Meggendorfer.
The exhibition at CFEVA coincides with Colette’s partnership with the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center to achieve the Guinness Record for the World’s Largest Pop-up Book.
Colette Fu received her MFA in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003, and soon after began devising complex compositions that incorporate photography and pop-up paper engineering. She has designed for award-winning stop motion animation commercials and free-lanced for clients including Vogue China, Canon Asia and Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton and the Delaware Disaster Research Center. Her pop-up books are included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the West Collection and many private and rare archive collections. In 2014, Fu attended a 6-month artist residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, where she continued her “We are Tiger Dragon” project, an extensive visual exploration of China’s ethnic minorities. There she also designed China’s largest (1 spread) pop-up book measuring 2.5 x 5 x 1.7 meters high. Fu’s numerous awards include a Fulbright Research Fellowship to China, a Fellowship with The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and grants from the Independence Foundation, Leeway Foundation, En Foco, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Puffin Foundation and Society for Photographic Education. Fu has also held artist residencies at Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Macdowell Colony, Sacatar, Vermont Studio Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Visual Studies Workshop, the Institute of Electronic Arts at Alfred University, Millay Colony, and the Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity. Her solo show “Wanderer/Wonderer: the Pop-ups of Colette Fu” was presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2016/17. A passionate educator, Fu also teaches artmaking as a way to give voice to communities through pop-up paper engineered projects. She teaches pop-up courses and community workshops to marginalized populations at art centers, universities and institutions internationally.