Billy H.C. Kwok | Last Letters

Country of origin: China
Project location: China
Program: Photography and Social Justice
Year: 2018

During the White Terror––a 38-year period of political suppression in Taiwan beginning in 1949––150,000 civilians were arrested and more than 20,000 were executed. In researching this recent past, I’ve discovered that executed civilians were allowed to write goodbye letters to their families–– but that they were concealed by the government and never sent. I am delivering these letters to remaining relatives as I uncover them, arriving some sixty years too late, and collecting their responses in drawing and letter form. My project has become an exploration of collective memory and rising generations, and the tension between absence and presence, past and future. My hope is that the current government will release all original documents and letters to the public.

Billy works at the intersection of art and documentary and focuses on human rights in modern-day migration as well as contemporary conditions perceived as the legacy of deep-rooted power structures among Asian countries.