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Film Title: Mango Tree

Artists: Lily & Honglei

Medium: Digital Animation, Oil on Paper, Soundtrack

Film Duration: 3'40" with sound

Size: Varied

Music Credit: Your Name by Tricky

Year of Completion: 2005

Artist Statement

Using a subtle metaphor involving deep personal feelings, Mango Tree reflects not only the immigrant experience in New York City, also the collective psychology of whom struggling between dream and reality.

Mango Tree is a four-minute animated film composed with oil paintings and soundtrack. First, we produce more than thirty paintings on paper, take high-resolution digital pictures of them, then transfer the images into digital animation application to create a time-based piece.

At the beginning, the camera curiously follows a beautiful Asian girl walking down the street at night in Manhattan, who then enters an anonymous hotel room, in where she is seemingly waiting and writing a note to someone, thereafter, she lays on the bed while gazing at the camera. Responsively, the camera moves to reveal her illuminated body before making the transition to street view. On the street corner, the same girl is surprisingly found standing in dark blue shadow of the building, lighting her cigarette. Perhaps she is never in the building, the room. Everything captured by the camera is simply illusive, or imagined by a lonely soul.

The background music sets the rhythm for the entire film. Almost like whispering, the vocal endlessly repeats:
…Cause I love you and
Love is true and
If you will love me
…One lives as two
Two live as one
Under the mango tree

Mango Tree is the first collaboration between us as husband and wife artist team. After more than three years living apart, we finally had family reunion in New York City. This work depicts the Chinese immigrant’s state of mind, that has been challenged by deepest loneliness, uncertainty and contradictory feeling about future. Being apart from families and cultural origin for long time, the individual often feels trapped by an extremely dilemmatic situation that prevents them from communicating meaningfully with their surroundings. The promised love, hope, beauty and future are seemingly nothing but a delusion, may quickly disperse like smoke from a cigarette. Mango Tree is also our first animated film completed in 2005. Since then, through integrating film and fine art languages, we have been continuously developing new artistic expressions reflecting cultural identity issues.

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