‘Heavens’ Collide’ is a multi-media painting that uses a French 1830s map combined with a map of the Qing dynasty internal rebellions and the invasion routes of colonial powers into 1850s China. Although one of many, the Taiping Rebellion, led by a man who believed himself to be the brother to Christ formed in South China the Heavenly kingdom that resulted in one of the bloodiest civil wars in history with more casualties than the world wars. It was this background of a decadent and corrupt Chinese empire drained of resources that colonial powers invaded and ‘carved’ up China for the spoils of war as well as the over 100 years of unfair treaties.
The multi-media painting of acrylic, sand and newspaper weaves together narratives from the 1850s to the modern day Belt and Road initiative that connects over 149 nations (as of March 2022) for mutual trade. Its ambiguous dawn, dusk, Martian or perhaps nuclear colour palette creates a subverted sci-fi play on the Thomas Moore maps of Utopia. Here they have dark undertones like a heat map of rebellions and invasions marked within the sandy textures that have been spray painted from various directions to create an iridescent moonscape; a floating tectonic plate adrift in a world as it teeters on fracturing apart.