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Chee Wang Ng 9/11 Memorial Installation

Student Union Lobby

September 4 – September 14, 2010

Presented by the Godwin-Ternbach Museum

FLUSHING, NY, August 11, 2010 ― The September 11 tragedy brought out massive expressions of grief at all levels of society—from silent private cries to huge public vigils. Chee Wang Ng’s moving installation is his response to 9/11. It fuses the symbolism, objects and music of Chinese and American culture to express the grief and solidarity of Americans and the global community and commemorate the event, one year before its 10th anniversary.

To mourn the nation’s loss of lives and innocence, he transformed the seven red stripes of the U.S. flag into seven red bleeding lines—the blood of victims—which wrap around a 10-inch-diameter bowl filled with rice, an iconic Chinese symbol. Food for the living, a bowl of rice is also a sacrificial offering to the dead.  Two wide chopsticks at the bowl’s center bear a ghostly resemblance to the Twin Towers.


As the artist describes, “The chopsticks mark the Chinese taboo against their vertical placement in a bowl of rice. Resembling joss incense sticks, which are an offering to God and the dead, the full rice bowl is always seen at the beginning of a Chinese funeral procession. Encircling the bowl are blue prayer candles with the 50 stars of the 50 states, shimmering to honor the departed. The low, round table symbolizes a call for nations of the world to join together for humanity.” An audio track that accompanies the installation is a Buddhist prayer for salvation.


“Chee Wang Ng is a deeply reflective artist whose knowledge of Chinese culture and symbolism has revealed itself in thought-provoking artworks over the years. His leitmotif of the bowl of rice has repeatedly served different themes, presented in mixed-media installations of photography, video, sound and sometimes painted or drawn form,” says Godwin-Ternbach Museum Director Amy Winter.  Another of Ng’s rice bowl installations was included in the GTM’s 2008 exhibition Meditation in Contemporary Chinese Landscape.

Born in Malaysia, Ng studied liberal arts at Warburg College, and then earned a BFA in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He currently lives and works in Queens. His art explores the identity of Chinese Diaspora individuals and reevaluates, challenges and modernizes traditional Chinese allegory that draws upon ancient literature, metaphor and mythology.

Ng’s installation is part of a three-part installation in red, white and blue concurrently on view at the Aljira Contemporary Art Center in Newark, NJ, and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in Lower Manhattan in their new space designed by Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.  A preface to Chinatown POV: Reflections on September 11th, an exhibition opening at MOCA in Fall 2010, the installation is part of a group of first-person accounts, photographs and mixed-media installations collected by MOCA, representing voices from a neighborhood just ten blocks away from Ground Zero that shared their thoughts on life in the “frozen zone.”  Queens College’s installation is red, while the others are white and blue.

This exhibition is a part of the Queens College Year of China, organized by the Asian Initiatives program. For a full schedule of Year of China events, go to

For information about related current exhibitions and programs at the museum, call 718.997.4747 or visit Exhibition entry and public programs are FREE.

Student Union Lobby Hours

Mon.–Thurs. 7 am to 11 pm, Fri.–Sun. 9 am to 5 pm

Travel Information

By car, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is 40 minutes from midtown Manhattan.  Directions are at

The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is the only comprehensive collection of art and artifacts in the borough of Queens, housing nearly 4,000 objects that date from ancient to modern times. The mission of the GTM has grown over time from serving as a teaching museum for the benefit of art and art history students to embracing all disciplines and an increasingly diverse and engaged community. All exhibitions are free, as are their related lectures, symposia, gallery talks, workshops, films, concerts, and tours.



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Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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