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Learning How to Fly with Lucinda Chua

Lucinda Chua, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Danilo Parra, Lulu Yao Gioiello

Event Film Music

Growing up in the U.K., my name, Siew Yian, felt unfamiliar to me. I wanted to be Katie or Chloe, to move through school with the ease and popularity of a Sarah. While my parents had chosen the name with great care, it wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand the significance of each character.


The “Yian” or “,” as I later learned, translates to “swallow,” a bird that holds special significance in Chinese mythology. According to legend, the swallow symbolises love, loyalty and good luck; the messenger of happiness and spring. It’s also a migratory songbird that lives between two places, embodying the idea of moving between different worlds.”

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Last month, London-based cellist Lucinda Chua set about her first musical endeavor to the U.S. A musician of poetic and elemental soundscapes and a contributor to FAR–NEAR’s newest book, it was only fitting to welcome her in our recently opened space in Chinatown, Manhattan. Lucinda’s piece in our book speaks about belonging to multiple worlds and cultures, and the way inherited nomenclature can evolve into a grounding sense of connection to our family and their history.

In my mind, the women in my Chinese family are like a flight of swallows, each one unique yet connected, moving between different worlds with grace and strength.”

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We would like to consider our FAR–NEAR family similarly – spread out across the world but joined together in sonic and artful resonance, recorded on the walls of our space and the pages in our books. Joined by saxophonist and friend Alex Zhang Hungtai, Lucinda performed an improvisational duet to a small audience of FAR–NEAR friends and collaborators that we would like to share with you all.

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Excerpt from Lucinda Chua’s piece “Yian: Learning How to Fly”


Vivek Vadoliya

Year of the Cello

Featuring Alex Zhang Hungtai

Film by Danilo Parra

Improvisational Performance

Filmed by Giullian Yao Gioiello on February 10th, 2024 at FAR–NEAR Studio Hours

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