Walks in Life by Jan-Ru Wan

Project Description

We live in a highly complex and complicated society, constantly facing social issues, cultural crashes and economic inequalities, both locally and globally. The COVID pandemic and related lockdowns, isolations, as well as social and economic hardships, have further exacerbated these already challenging situations.

As an installation artist, Wan has experienced her own challenges. At the very onset of the pandemic, many of her solo and juried exhibitions, artist residency, community art projects were cancelled or put on hold indefinitely. These stories are all too familiar for many of us, each unique in its own way. Taken as a whole, the inequality gap in many aspects of our lives has been widened, which was the spark that triggered this new series of work named Walks in Life.

The work is a collection of leg and foot-shaped silk ensembles, which the artist had hand dyed, printed and sewn one by one, suspended over a city skyline. The city view is filled with high-rises and local housings, which resemble all walks in life that make up our society. The artist hopes that we all can imagine “in other person’s shoes” – that we should always try our best to understand other people’s perspectives and do our part to bring equality and equity into our lives and our community.

This COVID pandemic is one of the most challenging times in human history. There have been already tremendous losses, but it is never too late to reflect and take actions to ensure an equal, just, and functioning society, for all walks in life.

Artist Bio

For 20 years Jan-Ru Wan has been re-using found objects, especially those that have been discarded from industrial factories, in her sculpture/installation work thereby re-inventing their purpose. During the past two decades she has been awarded many major artist residencies and has participated in 24 solo exhibitions and 44 group exhibitions, both national and international. In 2006, she was recognized with the “Gold” award from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; the Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) award. Wan is also is the recipient of a 2008 North Carolina Visual Art Fellowship.

As a fiber arts educator, Wan held tenure-track professor positions at East Carolina University (2004-2008) and North Carolina State University (2008-2010). From 2012-2014 Wan was awarded artist residencies in Morocco, Belgium and the Netherlands. In her sculptural forms and site-specific work, Wan is exceptionally strong conceptually and sensitively mixes materials to maximize their ability to evoke emotional responses.


The ArtsCenter is working with Jan-Ru Wan on an exhibition in the Nicholson Gallery in 2022.