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Yixin Ren’s PeopleLandscape under Lockdown in Shanghai

“Humans should follow the rules of nature since as elements of nature, we are actually very weak. No one could have predicted that Covid 19 would bring such huge changes to our lives in Shanghai. People adhered to quarantine policies, while plants in nature grew and bloomed according to their biological clocks. The plants grew out the ground and rushed out of the fence to follow the flow of nature.

Humans should follow the rules of nature since as elements of nature, we are actually very strong. During the quarantine, I saw the light of humanity. Volunteers in the compound delivered packages to the residents. Neighbors exchanged food and daily necessities. Barbers cut hair for residents outdoors. People, animals and plants all live in the same ecosystem. In nature, no two leaves are exactly the same. As human beings, all of us are individuals with our own independent will and the power to rush out of the fence and to make this world a better place.”

–Yixin Ren

Over the past decade, as the landscape architecture designer, Yixin Ren has been trying to connect art and design works with nature. Her artwork “PeopleLandscape” will be exhibited in the Bold and Beautiful artist exhibition at Hopkinton Center for the Arts in Massachusetts from July 19th to August 26th.

  1. How did you get started in the landscape architecture field? Which aspect of design did you first come into contact with?

Yixin Ren: I trained as a landscape architecture designer with a graphic design background when I was in Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After I graduated from RISD, I lead the design of the Central Falls Landing (Rhode Island), residential landscape (Massachusetts), community urban farming (Shanghai), etc. In 2018, I placed top 6 in the domestiCITY competition and expressed the idea of ​​how to heal the local people through the design of the urban farm with affordable housing.

  • What is your principle of Landscape architecture?

Yixin Ren: I think landscape design considers the relationship between people, animals and natural ecology. Just like I mentioned in PeopleLandscape “Humans should follow the rules of nature since as elements of nature, we are actually very weak and very strong at the same time.”

  • Why did you create PeopleLandscape?

Yixin Ren: During the Shanghai lockdown, I had more time with my family and neighbours in the compound. Although during the lockdown, I, like many other residents in Shanghai, faced enormous physical and psychological challenges, I chose to see the light of humanity, mainly from my neighbours. Volunteers in the compound delivered packages to the residents. Neighbours exchanged food and daily necessities. Barbers cut hair for residents outdoors. I recorded what happened through the digital art, since I had to work from home for a very sudden compound lockdown and had no art supplies.  

  • Why did you invite someone you care about to answer the 3 questions?

Yixin Ren: During the lockdown, I had a lot of emotions, and even had a panic attack one day in April after being at home for too long. At the same time, because of the help of my neighbors, I also felt grateful for them sending vegetables and seasonings to my family. Although I couldn’t meet the people I cared about at the time, I wanted to let them know that I cared about them and missed them, so I asked them the three questions.

  • Have you tried to answer these three questions yourself? If so what are your answers?

Yixin Ren: Yes, I answered the three questions through the PeopleLandscape visual art piece.

Exhibition Date: 07.19.2022-08.26.2022  

Exhibition Location: Hopkinton Center for the Arts, Massachusetts.

Exhibited Work: PeopleLandscape

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