The Art of Lee Ming Wei - Part 1: The Mending Project

Its funny, I recently realized that I go to art exhibits far more often on vacation than when I am home.  Perhaps family and work responsibilities guilt trip me from taking time out for myself.  As a former musician, I know the power of the creative arts. It inspires and invigorates the mind.   Art, as it should be, is thought-provoking.  Which leads me to Lee Ming Wei.  

I recently had the fortunate circumstance to experience his artwork first hand, rather than read about it in the NYTimes Arts section.  Lee Ming Wei is a Taiwanese artist that creates performance pieces where visitors explore concepts of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness with each other and sometimes with the artist.  

Here is the Abbreviated Artist's Statement about the Mending Project (full text here):

"The Mending Project was an interactive conceptual installation in which I used very simple elements—thread, color, sewing—as points of departure for gaining insights into the relationships among self, other and immediate surroundings.  It also constituted an act of sharing between myself and a stranger...The act of mending took on emotional value as well, depending on how personal the damaged item was, e.g., a favorite shirt vs. an old but little-used tablecloth.  This emotional mending was marked by the use of thread which was not the color of the fabric around it, and often colorfully at odds with that fabric, as though to commemorate the repair.  Unlike a tailor, who will try to hide the fact that the fabric was once damaged, my mending was done with the idea of celebrating the repair, as if to say, "something good was done here, a gift was given, this fabric is even better than before."

The Mending Project reminds me why I travel.  I travel to repair myself, like the objects being mended in the Project. I am that piece of fabric that is damaged from the wear and tear of the daily routine of work.  Sleep alone cannot repair me.  Each new person I meet, each memory made adds a new thread of understanding about myself and the people and culture I am experiencing.  Travel feeds my mind and soul. Like something mended, the act of travel introduces something new that was not there originally.  

Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work.  His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.