Zhi Lin on Transcontinental Railroad

Bloody Summer | Zhi Lin | Nevada Museum of Art

The Nevada Museum of Art’s exhibit marking the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, “Zhi Lin: Chinese Railroad Workers of the Sierra Nevada,” will close on Nov. 10. Lin has spent much of his career making work that recalls the sacrifices of Chinese immigrant workers in the 19th Century. The exhibit features mixed-media canvases, a video installation and watercolor paintings that honor the nearly 1,200 Chinese workers who lost their lives to accidents, avalanches and explosions in treacherous Sierra terrain near Donner Summit while constructing the transcontinental railroad.

Traveling in California and Nevada between 2005 and 2007, Lin made watercolor sketches of tunnels, bridges and other sites where traces of Chinese railroad workers remain but are easily overlooked. Rather than correct history by including Chinese people in his scenes, Lin’s paintings underscore their absence altogether. The resulting artworks are haunting and at times abstract, provoking the viewer to contemplate the depth of the stories unfolding on canvases that extend as large as 12 feet wide. | nevadaart.org