Photo by Charles Champagne, courtesy LSU MOA

Visiting artist’s work at LSU Museum of Art grapples with history

Candice Lin’s work is constructed from materials that tell a story. It’s a story of the history of indentured Chinese labor, and it uses items like tobacco, sugarcane and even clay sourced from places in the Caribbean where Asian laborers were brought in the 19th century to work on farms and plantations.

The Los Angeles artist has some recent works on view at the LSU Museum of Art as part of an exhibition and installation exploring this mostly forgotten history—even commenting on LSU football’s problematic use of the term “Chinese bandits” in one piece. She’s also been working with LSU School of Art students to create a ceramic sculpture that will take a central role in one of her pieces on display, “La Charada China.” In the installation, a liquid derived from tobacco, tea, sugar and poppy slowly drips onto the white porcelain sculpture the students help create. Because the sculpture hasn’t been fired to strengthen its shape, it will erode over time under the dripping liquid.

While Lin is a visiting artist at LSU and the museum, she’s also a participant in Prospect.5 in New Orleans, presenting new works there that explore the history of indentured Chinese labor in Louisiana.

Her exhibition at the LSU Museum of Art, “The Agnotology of Tigers,” will continue through March 2022.

This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of 225.