This interview was conducted and recorded in Mandarin Chinese. Read Ruonan Zheng's transcript and translation below:
Xin Song is the creator of Tree of Life, a public art piece installed in the mezzanine window of the Bay Parkway subway station (D Line) in Bensonhurst. "I wanted to incorporate the photos of the lives I photographed around this neighborhood into the shape of a tree. The place is a new immigrant hub. I am one of them," says the artist, who moved to New York from Beijing in 2000.
"Every time you go to a new place it’s a lot like a tree growing roots, blooming and bearing fruit." About 30 percent of the population in the Bay Parkway area is Chinese immigrants, she says. Using traditional Chinese paper cutting techniques, Xin Song transformed two years of her photo documentation of storefronts, signage, people, places, and street names into a collage, which is laminated between panes of glass.
Commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit, the artwork was installed in the historic station in 2012. The artist talks about public art's impact on the community and describes some of her other paper cut pieces including Cutting Dreams (2012), which depicts the Statue of Liberty, and Elephant Hotel, from the 2008 exhibition Coney Island Maybe.