'The Colony', 2016, was filmed on the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru. Home to huge colonies of birds, by the middle of the 19th century the Chincha islands had become mountains of guano. Discovered to be a potent fertiliser, guano quickly became one of the world's most valuable natural resources. British merchants controlled its trade, using indentured Chinese labourers working under brutal conditions. The islands have not been permanently inhabited for more than a century, but labourers return to harvest the guano by hand every few years. Lê films from a boat approaching the islands, cameras on the ground and drones circling above to capture a bleak landscape haunted by its brutal past.
Han Nefkens H+F Collection has participate in the comission of this project.
Dinh Q. Lê was born in Hà Tiên in then South Vietnam in 1968. In the late 1970s, his family escaped by boat before eventually settling in the US where he completed his education. He is the co-founder of Sàn Art in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he has been based for the past decade. In 2010 he was awarded the Prince Claus Award for his outstanding contribution to cultural exchange. Lê’s work has been included in many international group shows including Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany (2012), the 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), the Gwangju Biennial (2006) and the Venice Biennale (2003). He was the first Vietnamese artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). A major survey exhibition, Dinh Q. Lê: Memory for Tomorrow, was presented at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2015. In May 2016, he was at the Flow Series, a the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, in a project together with the Han Nefkens Foundation.
Commissioned by Artangel, Ikon, Birmingham, Han Nefkens H+F Collection, Proyecto Amil, Lima, with additional support from, Catherine Petitgas, Private Collection, New York, Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Produced by Artangel and TANQ Studios, this project was supported by Arts Council England, Artangel International Circle,Special Angels, Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels.
Picture by Hilde Teerlinck, President at Han Nefkens Foundation.