Skip to content

Ya-Nan Song


Mom & Me

Digitized photo collage, 2019
21 x 16 inches


This work is a composite of three digital photographs. The central subject is a family photograph and my hand, which is the same size in the print as my actual hand. These photos come from different times and geographic locations, connecting my childhood and present as well as my journey from China to Canada. They reflect my conviction that our current identities are constructed from countless slices of the past, and the force of life is scattered within.

The world is changing so fast. I often feel lost in the waves that come from all directions, and am acutely aware of how little strength each individual has. I want to know what can help an individual resist harm and move on. As a new immigrant, I feel the goodwill of the people around me in this city, but the unfamiliar social structure and the different culture were facts I had to face.

Structural injustice is a phenomenon that deserves constant attention, and requires everyone to work together. I find that when I experience stress or frustration, after some inner struggle something deep inside me wakes up. This power comes from the distant land of my birth, from my ancestors and family, and from the original point of my life that I can never change. It is a light behind me far away, telling me where I come from; but at the same time, it is held in my hand to light the way ahead.  Even if I do not know where I am going, every step I take will be firm and courageous. And I believe this power exists in each of us. 

Ya-Nan Song was born in Shandong Province, China. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, and worked there as an IT Expert for more than a decade. He moved to Canada in the winter of 2017, studying in the Professional Photography program at Dawson College. He hopes his work will cause a small ripple in its audience’s heart.