CarryOn Homes is dedicated to telling the stories of immigrants and refugees in the USA through art. By engaging the public with cross-cultural dialogue, we create spaces for immigrants and marginalized communities to feel a sense of belonging and empowerment

Artist Statement

CarryOn Homes is a team of five artists from five countries: Zoe Cinel (Italy), Preston Drum (USA), Aki Shibata (Japan), Peng Wu (China) and Shun Jie Yong (Malaysia). Being an artist group comprised of immigrants and transplants, they have experienced the difficulty of adapting to a new cultural context while attempting to maintain a sense of identity and find a community. Being an immigrant in the USA is a complicated condition that is both humbling and empowering. Drawing on this experience they seek to create artworks that offer a sense of belonging to those who are disenfranchised.

Through their collaborative art projects, they have developed relationships with immigrant communities in the Twin Cities, such as, Indigenous Roots, Hope Community, SEAD: Sound East Asian Diaspora, among others. These partnerships have brought to light many questions, most centrally, how can they as artists and immigrants, better serve their communities and how can they foster cross cultural dialogue?

The COH team believe in the power of art to connect people and have channeled this ethos to create projects that open spaces and share resources. While CarryOn Homes’ practice is diverse in mediums, ranging from photography and videography to sculpture and interactive performance, what unites their body of work is the empowerment of the viewer and the participant. Not only do they create visual art objects, situations, and environments but, they organize community events, meals, and workshops.

The CarryOn Homes’ approach to artmaking is to consider people first and form second, through this process, the team construct platforms for interactions in service of the community.


Future Vision

The COH team continues to deepen relationships with local organizations and other artists groups in hopes of telling even more stories and creating spaces for continuous dialogue.


COH team continues to work with storytelling and portraiture of immigration and migration in the USA. The team has been creating public events based art works and creative spaces together with Indigenous Roots, Weisman, MInneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, and the Concordia University Gallery. The team’s mindset has been focused on thinking about many aspects surrounding education, art making, immigration and migration.

2018 - CarryOn Homes Artists Collective Born

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Peng Wu and Shunjie Yong invited Behavioral artist, Aki Shibata, interdisciplinary artist, Zoe Cinel and installation artist, Preston Drum to join the CarryOn Homes team to propose and create a public art project for the 2018 Creative City Challenge, called CarryOn Homes at the Commons. The project was a multi-functional pavilion in the shape of house made of more than 150 suitcases. The pavilion included interactive sculpture, a stage for performance, a healing garden, a photo exhibit, a documentary film, and a suitcase wall where people posted hand written stories. It became platform for performances by and for immigrant communities.  After the success of the project, the COH team has grown robustly with the support and partnerships with the local immigrant communities. The mission of COH has evolved to not only collecting and sharing the life stories of migrants but also bringing the stories to the public and creating spaces for cross-cultural dialogues. With this new mission, the team decided to form the CarryOn Homes Artists Collective.

2017 - Founding of CarryOn Homes Photography and Storytelling Project


Social practice artist Peng Wu and photographer Shunjie Yong co-founded CarryOn Homes Photography and Storytelling Project. Wu and Yong started to invite their immigrant and refugee friends for interviews and photo shoots. Artists asked every guest to bring an object they carried from their home countries to the US, then interviewed them about their journeys and the stories behind their objects. After the interviews, Yong created portraits of them with their objects. For immigrants these objects feel like small pieces of homes that can fit in carry-on luggage. For this reason, Wu named the project CarryOn Homes. The photographs and audio from the interviews were exhibited in galleries, and public spaces throughout the Twin Cities. The CarryOn Homes Photograph and Storytelling Project remains an open platform for any immigrants and refugees who want to share their stories.