She came dressed in a funky Tibetan wool hat and handed me a photograph of one of her artworks, Tao Seeker (below). I was struck by this work, its searching, its journeying.
It was October 2013 and Suzanne Fox and I had put on an event with the curator and translator Valerie Doran. A quiet legend, Valerie has worked alongside the likes of Johnson Chang Tsong-zung and played a seminal role in the emergence of the Chinese avant garde to the world in the early 90s. I had lured her up to this New England sea port to speak about 5,000 years of Chinese art history.
At this lunch event, Mei Selvage appeared, her eyes wide with inspiration, telling me that she was an artist based here in Portland. It was almost like we had generated the entire event for her - so intensely did she respond to the themes of the talk. The two of us exchanged phone numbers and met up again the following month.