The spoon exhibit will be open to the public until May 12.

The Charles B. Wang Center is home to multiple art exhibits,  most recently a display of the art exhibition “Five Elements: Six Roots Contemplate Its Origin in the Spoon Fed World.” It is a mixed media installation by Chee Wang Ng.

It also complements another exhibition—“Asian Roots/American Soil: Photographs of Corky Lee at the Charles B. Wang Center.”

In a press release for “Asian Roots/American Soil,” “Five Elements” is described as the exploration of “care, connection, and abundance represented by the bowl and spoon.”

The Chinese idiom ‘When Drinking Water, Remember Its Source,’ is a part of the exhibition’s title, according to the schematic proposal for the exhibition. The schematic proposal also states “‘Five Elements’ is the traditional Chinese Cosmology which encompasses a wide myriad of phenomena.”


The focus of the exhibition is the identity of the Chinese diaspora. Through the use of colored bowls and spoons, Ng explores the connection of Chinese people to each other and to the world around them.

The elements of traditional Chinese cosmology—wood, fire, earth, metal and water—are represented by multiple sets of bowls in the colors of green, red, yellow, white and black, respectively.

The exhibition is set up behind a glass wall and comprises four square pillars and one table arranged in a V-formation. The table, which is the lowest in height, is the point of the V with the other four pillars behind it in increasing height order.

Ng's multimedia exhibit portrays the Chinese diaspora. (JISOO HWANG / THE STATESMAN)
Ng’s multimedia exhibit portrays the Chinese diaspora. (JISOO HWANG / THE STATESMAN)

The colored bowls, which are also in various shapes and sizes, are in the order of white, yellow, red (which stands at the center), green, and black from left to right and are set atop the pillars.


The red bowl at the center of the entire exhibit is filled with rice and has chopsticks next to it. A flyer posted next to the exhibit states that the rice is to remind people of the bowl’s function, and draws attention to the idea of hunger.

On the ground surrounding the pillars are white porcelain spoons. Each spoon is different and from different places in the world. Several of these spoons are also holding globes.

The schematic proposal states their function as “not only illustrates about our consumer society but raises the question on the individual, choices, and decision.”

These spoons also help to demonstrate Ng’s point of hunger and the spreading of Chinese people and their relations to the world around them.

Five Elements: Six Roots Contemplate Its Origin in the Spoon Fed World can be found on the first floor of the Wang Center.


The exhibition began on March 1 and will be shown until May 12. On April 17 during Campus Life Time, there will be a reception for Asian Roots/American Soil and Five Elements: Six Roots Contemplate Its Origin in the Spoon Fed World. Both Lee and Ng will be present.


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