Going Away, Coming Home

Whenever I fly into and out of Oakland International I see Going Away, Coming Home, an art project of flying cranes by Hung Liu.

There is nothing that involves only going without returning. It is the nature of Heaven and Earth. When there is going, there also must be returning. – I Ching

Hung Liu is an Oakland artist whose work is exhibited widely in the United States and Asia. A California resident for 20 years, she was born and reared in China, coming of age during the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution. In many ways, Going Away, Coming Home, Liu’s first major effort in glass, can be seen as emblematic of her history as a Chinese immigrant and her focus as a contemporary artist.

Many of the images encompassed in the window reference potent symbols of Asian culture. The red-crowned crane – the second rarest crane species in the world – has been a Chinese symbol of peace, purity, wisdom, fidelity, prosperity and longevity for centuries. In China, the color red (present in the crane’s bright crown) is considered to bring good luck and is a sacred, vital color used to express joy and as a talisman against evil. The circles represent the universe and eternity and indicate endlessness, emptiness and wholeness, all at the same time.

Known for her innovative use of historical materials, Liu’s placement of the cranes is directly influenced by the 12th century Chinese painting, Auspicious Cranes. Dating from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), the hanging scroll painted by Emperor Huizong depicts 20 cranes flying over the roof of his palace, bringing the blessings of peace and prosperity to his dwelling. Nine centuries later, Lui extends this metaphor to include safe travel by incorporating 20 flying cranes into each of the four window sections, in effect bringing 80 blessings to the travelers who pass by them.

Underlying Liu’s lyrical painting is a second layer of glass created from satellite photography. The map begins with a close up of the Bay Area and expands sequentially away from the Northern California coast to include the entire Asian Pacific region. Departing passengers experience an expansion of scale as they pass by. Returning passengers see the imagery reduce in dimension back toward the Bay Area, like the descent through the skies to come home to Oakland.

In Going Away, Coming Home, Hung Liu has masterfully combined Western technology with Chinese traditions to bring the blessings of peace, wisdom and prosperity to all.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

(*)Valley of Fire State Park is a public recreation and nature preservation area covering nearly 46,000 acres located 16 miles (26 km) south of Overton, Nevada. The state park derives its name from red sandstone formations, the Aztec Sandstone, which formed from shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago. These features, which are the centerpiece of the park’s attractions, often appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. It is Nevada’s oldest state park, as commemorated with Nevada Historical Marker #150. It was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1968.

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Vine Street Antiques, Murray Arts Center and Wright Costume

Vine Street Antiques, Murray Arts Center and Wright Costume

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I think they’re pretty cool looking.

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Moyle House & Indian Tower

Now located in Moyle Park in Alpine.

The Moyle House and Indian Tower are significant examples of vernacular architecture from Alpine’s early settlement period. The Indian Tower is unique as the only structure of its type known to have been built to protect a single homestead in Utah. The tower was constructed c. 1860-66 to watch for and provide defense against American Indians during the Black Hawk War of 1865-68. Built of local river rock by owner and stone mason John Rowe Moyle, the tower is utilitarian in design, as were the original dugout house and the good cellar which were build c. 1858.

In 1859-60 Moyle build a small stone house over the original dugout house. In 1917 Joseph Edward Moyle. the youngest son of John and Philippa Moyle, built a large addition on the south side of the house and expanded the attic, using the then-popular Bungalow/Arts and Crafts style. In recent years, the tower has been substantially rebuilt following historical photographs. The house and food cellar, the only other original features on the site, are also being carefully restored.