Lily & Honglei Art Studio continues presenting their new project “Shadow Play” by launching the next solo exhibition at Wilfrid Israel Museum of Asian Art & Studies.

Although remains in-progress, the artist collective has been invited to exhibit their new project at several art venues around the globe since 2015, including Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in New York, SOMART in San Francisco, Gwangju Media Art Festival in South Korea, and Wilfrid Israel Museum in Israel. The exhibits include a dozen of large prints, and a slideshow compiled of seventy screenshots of “Shadow Play” virtual reality.

Special thanks to Dr. Anat Turbowicz, museum director,  and Shir Yamaguchi, museum curator, for making this exhibition possible. Find more from museum website

Lily & Honglei, shadow play, asian art, chinese art, shadow puppetry

Curatorial Statement
By Dr. Shoshan Brosh-Vaitz and Shir Meller-Yamaguchi. Editing by He Li

“Chinese shadow puppet theater probably began in the 6th century during the Tang dynasty as a means of disseminating religious and historical narratives, often with highlighting the value of justice and morality. Over the years, the design of the dyed leather shadow puppets became increasingly complex; delicate cutting and coloring as well as an impressive repertoire of characters and set decorations came to be developed. Due to the dramatic ideological, technological, and cultural change that took place in China during the 20th century, this art form has waned in popularity and almost become a thing of the past. The medium has been preserved primarily through the work of collectors such as Richard Hardiman, whose collection is presented in the exhibition.

“Folk art, however, is deeply rooted in cultural consciousness and has the power to revive itself when it becomes relevant to its time again. In Shadow Play by New York-based Chinese art collective Lily and Honglei, the shadow puppets reappear in a new guise within a seemingly naïve set. Originally created on a virtual reality platform, the work was adapted for screening as a slideshow presentation for the exhibition. Using the magical imagery of the traditional shadow puppets, the artists present critical commentary on the social ills shadowing over China.

Lily & Honglei, Asian Art, Chinese contemporary artist, Chinese shadow puppetry

Image by Lily & Honglei Art Studio © 2016

“Shadow Play reflects on the radical transformations experienced by China over the past thirty years through a tragic story of a rural family. The story embodies a deplorable trend that has been taking place all over China: villages and rural neighborhoods are being razed, and people who object to it are being murdered by interested parties. Children are being abducted while migrant workers are being relocated from small villages to filthy, overcrowded underground dwellings in large cities, all the while pollution abounds and public security breaks down. Basic values such as life, freedom, and dignity are being trampled in broad daylight. Lily and Honglei sketch this grim reality as a surrealistic narrative, in which mesmerizing beauty and horror are placed side by side. Green sunlight and an enchanted moonlight of yellowish-red color become obfuscated by the shadowy predicaments of reality.

“Scenes from the traditional shadow puppet theater are presented alongside scenes from its contemporary counterpart to offer a perspective on the age-old conflict between man’s base, demonic portions-which are manifest in greed, violence and exploitation–and the beautiful, exalted facets of human existence, which dwells in harmony, cooperation, altruism, and dedication.”

For more info about “Shadow Play,” visit project website


Shadow Play by Lily & Honglei Art Studio (Xiying Yang, He Li and Honglei Li) is exhibited at SOMArts center in San Fransisco, CA:

Lily & Honglei, somart, media artist from China

Exhibition poster

APICC presents ONE IN WHICH WE ARE, May 1–27

Lily & Honglei, media artists from China, Chinese media artist, media art, Asian art

Screenshot of multimedia project ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization’ by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

As part of the 18th Annual United States of Asian America Festival: Sparking Light, and with the support of the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, ONE IN WHICH WE ARE is a visual arts exhibition which explores the complex interdependencies between structures, processes, events, and the collective individual. Conceived as a relational map of reflections and experiences, this group exhibition brings forth inquiries surrounding individual positionalities and collective responsibilities. Through video works, painting, sculpture, photography and performance, these artists from the Bay Area and beyond explore personal and social wounds as collective attachments from where we may interpret and embrace our daily lives.


The opening event on Friday, May 1, 7–10pm opens with a special performance by NAKA Dance Theater, The Anastasio Project. Click here to read about this performance.

Exhibiting Artists: Zach Blas, Cristina Battle, Craig Campbell, Sarah Farahat, Tanja Geis, Kristina Lee Podesva, Lily & Honglei, Sanaz Mazinani, Omar Mismar, NAKA Dance Theater, Andrew Norman Wilson, Gala Porras KIm, Lordy Rodriguez, and Shelly Silver

Curators: David de Rozas and Alex Wang


Images courtesy of: Lily & Hongleil; Kristina Lee Podesva; Tanja Geis


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Queens Council on the Arts distributes annual grants to borough artists and groups


TIMESLEDGER, FEB. 20–26, 2015

Late last month, despite dire snow predictions, the Queens Council on the Arts sallied forth with its annual celebratory evening and honored 48 organizations and 40 individuals awarded one of its Queens Art Funds grants. Artists will present their works across the borough this year in the areas of visual and literary arts, films, theater, multimedia, dance and music. Grants were also presented to 11 individuals who work with senior centers in the Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide program.

In all, the QCA handed out more than $190,000 to Queens-based artists. “The Queens Arts Fund is a competitive application process that is reviewed by a panel of peers that make recommendations for funding. We have been honored to facilitate this process for Queens County since the late 1970s,” QCA Grants and Resource Director Lynn Lobell said. “All the arts and cultural programming projects will take place in many different local venues, and it’s up to each organization and artist to determine where they will present to the general Queens public.”

… …

Another grant was presented to Lily Yang, Honglei Li and He Li, who work collectively as Lily & Honglei, to help fund their creation of an app that incorporates animation and technology. The Queens-based artists’ work reflects on how, and to what extent, the landscape and culture may be altered by an urbanization process that will relocate 260 million people from China’s countryside by 2020. The emerging media will help the project reach out to a broader community and increase audience engagement. Lily & Honglei Studio has presented its work at numerous national and international venues, including the Queens Museum of Art. The collective stated that QCA provided them with financial support to cover costs for technologies, materials for project production and exhibition, as well as artist fees that allow them to dedicate their time to significant work. The team’s final presentation will combine animated film, inspired by Chinese folk art shadow play, along with a virtual reality installation, as well as an installation allowing the audience to experience the artwork with a mobile phone within and beyond the gallery. This multimedia project will be launched at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning during Jamaica Flux ’15 this fall.

… …

Read the full article at

We are pleased to announce that He Li, assistant producer and artist at Lily & Honglei Art Studio, has been featured by Yale Arts Vision website, Yale University, 02/15/15. [source]

This week, we’re bringing you a profile on He Li, a sophomore in TD.

Tell us about yourself: I was born in Beijing, China, and I moved to the United States when I was eight years old. I’ve spent most of my time here in Queens, New York.
If I had to pick, ancient history, American music, and old cars are probably my greatest passions in life other than painting.

Major: Intended History major focusing on Classical antiquity

Influences: Writings by the likes of Cicero, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome have had immeasurable influence on the way I think. Other than these philosophical influences, artists of the Early Renaissance and 20th Century Modernist period are probably my greatest inspirations. My favorites are Piero della Francesca, Vittore Carpaccio, and Jan van Eyck. More recent painters such as Edward Hopper and Giorgio de Chirico have been crucial to the formation of my pieces too. I think there is a kind of otherworldliness that is common to the works of all I’ve just mentioned.

How would you describe the focus of your work?: Above all else, my focus in art is to capture a certain essence. I can’t describe this essence in writing, because I would be a writer if I could do so. I have experienced some success, however, in infusing it into my paintings. If I had to choose a word to describe it, I would call it “divine,” since it does not seem to correspond to anything in our mundane day-­to-­day existence. Cicero wrote that one should always fix his eyes upon the stars rather than the Earth, since all human affairs are ephemeral. I am quite convinced that he feels the same kind of essence that I am referring to. I intend to express this essence through Midcentury Golden Age American imagery, since I grew up among the ruins of this bygone time.

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2015. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2015. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2014. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2014. by He Li

You can find more of He’s work here!


Special thanks and acknowledgement to He Li, assistant producer, researcher and artist at Lily & Honglei Art Studio.



Creative Capital is pleased to announce its 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects selected from a nationwide pool of more than 3,700 proposals. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.

The 2015 Creative Capital Artists are an incredible group of creative thinkers, representing 50 artists at all stages of their careers with an age range of 28 to 80 years old. They hail from 13 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada; more than half are women, and more than half identify as non­-European American. Each funded project receives up to $50,000 in direct funding, plus additional resources and advisory services valued at $45,000, making the organization’s total 2015 investment more than $4,370,000. “We believe it is so critical to sustain a commitment to invention and experimentation, to provocation and beauty,” said Ruby Lerner, Founding President & Executive Director, Creative Capital. “This class of Creative Capital awardees does it all; these artists are engaged with the world, and the immediacy of their projects is breathtaking.”

Lily & Honglei Creative Capital

The 2015 awardees in Moving Image are: Michael Almereyda (New York, NY) Martha Colburn (Gettysburg, PA) Cherien Dabis (Los Angeles, CA) Christopher Harris (Oviedo, FL) Lauren Kelley (New York, NY) Maryam Keshavarz (Los Angeles, CA) Klip Collective (Josh James and Ricardo Rivera) (Philadelphia, PA) Andy Kropa (Brooklyn, NY) Lily & Honglei (New Haven, CT) Shola Lynch (New York, NY) Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen (Los Angeles, CA) Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva (Mayer\Leyva) (Miami, FL) Lotfy Nathan (Los Angeles, CA) Pat O’Neill (Pasadena, CA) Carlo Ontal (Jersey City, NJ) Lorelei Pepi (Vancouver, Canada) Shawn Peters (Brooklyn, NY) Jennifer Reeder (Hammond, IN) Jon Rubin (Pittsburgh, PA) Ry Russo-Young (New York, NY) Lee Anne Schmitt (Altadena, CA) Dan Schneidkraut (Minneapolis, MN) Travis Wilkerson (Los Angeles, CA)

The 2015 awardees in Visual Arts are: A.K. Burns (Brooklyn, NY) Heather Cassils (Los Angeles, CA) Carolina Caycedo (Los Angeles, CA) Mike Crane (Brooklyn, NY) Danielle Dean (Houston, TX) Abigail DeVille (Bronx, NY) Maria Gaspar (Chicago, IL) Mariam Ghani (Brooklyn, NY) Eric Gottesman (Cambridge, MA) Titus Kaphar (New Haven, CT) Jon Kessler (New York, NY) Narcissister (Brooklyn, NY) Brittany Nelson (Richmond, VA) Lorraine O’Grady (New York, NY) Jeanine Oleson (Brooklyn, NY) Gala Porras-Kim (Los Angeles, CA) Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (San Juan, Puerto Rico) Carrie Schneider (Brooklyn, NY) Anna Sew Hoy (Los Angeles, CA) Amie Siegel (New York, NY) Katrin Sigurdardottir (New York, NY) Wu Tsang (Los Angeles, CA) Ivan Velez (Bronx, NY) Read more about these artists, their projects and the selection process at

Image credits (clockwise from top left): Eric Gottesman, Barbershop. A.K. Burns. Heather Cassils, Becoming an Image. Titus Kaphar, Untitled II. Jon Kessler, The Web. Cherien Dabis, still from May in the Summer. Martha Colburn, study for Western Wilds. Lily & Honglei, Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China. Maryam Keshavarz, research image for The Last Harem.

About Creative Capital

Creative Capital’s pioneering approach, inspired by venture-capital principles, surrounds adventurous artists in all disciplines with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. Since 1999, Creative Capital’s awards program has committed more than $35 million in financial and advisory support to 465 projects representing 579 artists, including Kyle Abraham, Janine Antoni, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Theaster Gates, Meredith Monk, Laura Poitras, Rebecca Solnit and The Yes Men. Creative Capital has reached nearly 10,000 additional artists in more than 400 communities through its career-development workshops and webinars.

Creative Capital receives major support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Lambent Foundation, The Theo Westenberger Estate, Booth Ferris Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, Catharine & Jeffrey Soros, Paige West, Kresge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Muriel Pollia Foundation, Clifton Foundation, Cordish Family Foundation, Sylvia Golden, Rappaport Family Foundation, Stephen Reily & Emily Bingham, Tequila Herradura, Two Sisters and a Wife Foundation, and more than 250 other institutional and individual donors.

"Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China" is a 2014 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., 
 for its website. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation.

Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China
by Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei, new media art, He Li, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Turblence commission

Screenshot of Shadow Play VR installation. Lily & Honglei © 2014

Lily & Honglei, new media art of China, He Li, Rose Goldsen Archieve of New Media Art, commission

Screenshot of Shadow Play VR installation. Lily & Honglei © 2014

Over the past few decades China has been urbanizing at an astounding pace. In 2013, the People’s Republic unveiled its plan to relocate 260 million people from China’s countryside to one of 21 “mega regions” by 2020 ( Such a significant shift will undoubtedly transform China’s national character, which has been predominantly agrarian for millennia. Shadow Play weaves three interfaces, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Physical Reality (PR), and combines the past and present – through time-honored imagery, paint, shadow play, and new media technologies – to immerse participants in the realities of contemporary China.

Lily & Honglei,, new media art China, Rose Goldsen Archive of new media art, China urbanization

Shadow Play, Chapter I. The Land: Death of the Village Head (AR Screenshot)

Lily & Honglei, new media art, commission of net-art, China urbanization

Shadow Play, Chapter III. The Ruins: Lost Children

Lily & Honglei, He Li, new media art China, Rose Goldsen Archive of new media art

Shadow Play, Chapter IV. The Maze: No Exit (AR Screenshot)

Thanks to the great support from co-directors, Jo-Anne Green and Helen Thorington, Shadow Play also becomes part of Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Division of Rare and Special Collections at Cornell University, NY.

Curators: Lily & Honglei (Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, Curatorial Assistant: He Li)

Event: Digital Art Weeks Festival 2014, Seoul

Exhibition Dates: Oct 5th -Dec 22nd, 2014

Organization: DAW International

Curatorial Statement:

The Augmented Realism


Lily & Honglei (Lily X. Yang, Honglei Li and He Li)

The artistic application of Augmented Reality (AR) mobile technology is a new approach to creativity. With a mobile-device program, AR technology allows artists to set up site-specific installations that integrate digital art with physical surroundings. The audience can then view these works through their cell phone cameras, resulting in an artistic experience that challenges the existing definitions of space and medium.

Like any site-specific installations, the physical setting of AR artwork plays a vital role as a visual and contextual component of the overall piece. By inserting virtual artistic elements into a physical site, the AR medium provides artists with an opportunity to redefine a particular space with a new historical, political, or aesthetic light. Contrary to traditional forms of site-specific installation, the presence of AR art does not require permission from authorities that have jurisdiction over the physical space. This unique liberty is exemplified by 4Gentlemen’s installations Goddess of Democracy and Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, projects which certainly would have been obstructed by the Chinese government if it was not for the discreetly expressive nature of AR technology. Thus, in many respects, AR has made the whole world a canvas for new media art.

Moreover, artists and audiences alike are often challenged to think beyond their native cultures and landscapes in this global age. While environmental, economic, and political issues have come to span across the entire world, individuals often find themselves acquainted with unfamiliar peoples, places, and history. AR art corresponds precisely to this globalizing trend because it provides artist with an expressive medium that could take form anywhere in the world in a direct and efficient manner.

AR art is a “realistic” art style- not only because it stands against the backdrop of the real physical world, but also because it requires artists to ponder on the relationship between the physical setting and their virtual sculptures. It is only when a concordance exists between these two domains that compelling and relevant ideas could be put forth. In this way, the artist is able to present their own take on reality to the audience through their mobile devices, unraveling a new “realism” of the digital age.

The AR exhibition that is to be held at the at Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Garden and Cultural Station 284 in Seoul will embody all of such concepts discussed above. We would like to thank Digital Art Weeks International Festival 2014 as well as all contributing artists for making this invaluable opportunity possible.



Background information for participating artists and audience:

Location One:

Culture Station 281 Seoul

The old building of the Seoul train station was designed by Tsukamoto Yasushi, a professor of Tokyo University. Construction of the station started in June, 1922 and was completed in September, 1925. Due to its unique domed roof and large size, the station attracted much attention in its early years.

After Korea regained its independence from under Japanese colonial rule, the station’s name was changed from ‘Gyeongseong Station’ to ‘Seoul Station’. During the Korean War, the station was partially destroyed but later restored. After Korea began industrializing after the war, the South annex and West annex were constructed to handle the increasing transportation volume.

In 2004 when the privately-funded new station was constructed, the old station closed down, but after reconstruction in 2011 opened as a multicultural space called ‘Culture Station Seoul 284’. The main section (Jungang Hall) is for performances, exhibitions, events, and cafés, while the 2nd floor houses a hall that serves as a venue for cultural performances, exhibitions, academic seminars, business meetings, and more.


More info, please read:


Location Two:

Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Taking up 60% of the entire area of Changdeokgung Palace, the Secret Garden (‘Biwon’ in Korean) was a private garden where the kings and royal family members relax and enjoy the picturesque nature.

Changdeokgung’s rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called ‘Bukwon’ and ‘Geumwon,’ but was renamed ‘Biwon’ after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. Buyongjeong, Buyongji, Juhabru, Eosumun, Yeonghwadang, Bullomun, Aeryeonjeong, and Yeongyeongdang are some of the many pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.


Introductions by UNESCO & World Heritage Convention

Changdeokgung Palace had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, garden and landscape planning, and related arts, for many centuries. It reflects sophisticated architectural values, harmonized with beautiful surroundings. The palace compound is an outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design, exceptional for the way in which the buildings are integrated into and harmonized with the natural setting, adapting to the topography and retaining indigenous tree cover.

The Daejojeon Hall nearby was for the use of the queen. The garden was landscaped with a series of terraces planted with lawns, flowering trees, flowers, a lotus pool, and pavilions set against a wooded background. There are over 26,000 specimens of 100 indigenous trees in the garden. To these should be added 23,000 planted specimens of 15 imported species, including yew, stone pine, white pine, gingko and Chinese junipers.

Watch video:


History of Changdeogung:




He Li, the young artist acting as Production & Research Assistant at Lily & Honglei Art Studio, has been named Katherin Farley & Jerry Speyer Scholar at Yale University, where he currently studies. The award “reflects the university’s esteem for your past and present achievements as well as your future potential as a member of the Yale community,” the school stated.

Conducting project research and new media production at the art studio on a regular basis, He Li contributes to many projects including on-going net-art work commissioned by New Radio and Performing Art Inc – ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China,’ large-scaled virtual reality art project ‘Land of Illusion: Reconstituting Chinese History and Culture with Virtual Reality,’ video art ‘Dragon,’ name a few. The pieces have been exhibited at art museums, galleries, festivals and conferences, internationally and nationally.

He Li artist, painting, yale university

Untitled. by He Li.
Acrylic on paper, 16″ by 12″. 2013

He Li’s independent art projects received recognitions including Grand Prize of River of Words International Poetry and Arts Competition in 2010, National Silver Medal and Gold Keys of Scholastic Arts and Writing Award in 2012 and 2011, among many others.

For more information about He Li’s artworks, please visit artist website: