Spotlight: Annie Liu

Liu’s installation Swann’s Way captures nostalgia

Nishtha Sharma, Staff Writer

As students walked by the mysterious wooden box parked in Roth Lobby, Annie Liu (12) anticipated the opening of her installation Swann’s Way on Tuesday, Oct. 24, created as a part of her Independent Study project.

Liu built the installation from scratch with the help of Faculty Technical Director Joel Sherry as well as her friends. Swann’s Way features a singular lamp that lights up a room with walls covered in dolls and other childhood toys.

Liu was inspired by her fondness of childhood innocence and the hope to create something that rekindled childhood memories, she said.

“My intent was for people to enter this intimate space and feel strong emotions about childhood nostalgia, identity, and how they can be physically manifested in inanimate objects,” she said.

Liu also meant for the installation to be “cute but creepy,” as she believes dolls can invoke dual emotions in people. She wanted the physical manifestation of the animals to contribute to a theme of collective identity, while also adding

A-E-I-O-U Dr. Steve Sano works on annunciating vowels with Concert Glee

Actress and playwright visits,

discusses passion for theater

an individualistic aspect to her piece, Liu said.

“Being in the room made me feel like I’m in a children’s book, and I felt like a little girl again,” Amrita Acharya (12), one of Liu’s friends who assisted her, said. “I realized that innocence never escapes us.”

“Immediately upon entering the dim-lit room, I felt a sense of comfort but severe nostalgia,” Madison Li (10) said. “It made me think about how people still have ties to their childhood.”

Although the installation took a week to construct, Liu prepared for over two months. A er developing the idea in August, she immediately began contacting the administration.

“Getting approval made this a logistical nightmare,” she said. “Nonetheless, I had great guidance from Mr. Sherry, who taught me how to cut and construct everything, and from my friends who helped.”

“Liu was very flexible and open to all of the teachers querying her work,” theatre Arts teacher and Liu’s Independent Study advisor Alexis Dahl said. “I was struck by her adaptability and resilience.”

Liu fell in love with installation art when she attended a program this summer at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she said. She was exposed to installation art and 3-D sculptures and created installations related to femininity and art history.

“When creating these, your perception of space is much di erent, and you can focus on many more aspects of materialism.”

While not working on installations, Liu enjoys 2-D painting and experimental sculpture work. “I take inspiration in everything I see,” she said.

In Liu’s everyday life, “art is the one thing she always talks about,” Acharya said. “Annie enjoys remembering and preserving childhood innocence, and her art really re ects who she is as a human being.”

Liu finds that as an artist, it’s common to go through long periods of “total uninspiration,” she said. While she often finds creating art to be “stressful, especially on a time constraint,” she continues to expose herself to the world of contemporary art to allow for more resourcefulness in her work.

As the year progresses, she plans to craft more diverse art styles as a part of her Independent Study project.