Meet the artist who's trying to save a disappearing art with her bare hands

Montreal's Annie Katsura Rollins refuses to let the art of Chinese shadow puppetry go down without a fight.

Annie Katsura Rollins won't let Chinese shadow puppetry go down without a fight

Artist Annie Katsura Rollins fears Chinese shadow puppetry is disappearing — she's not letting it go down without a fight. 4:56

Chinese shadow puppetry has been a dramatic tradition in China since the Han Dynasty. It's a tricky art form, from the actual puppet making to learning how to move them in the precise, choreographed way that suits them best. And as the years have gone on, its masters have become fewer and fewer.

Enter Montreal-based artist Annie Katsura Rollins, who traveled all the way to China to apprentice in the art. On her way to becoming a Chinese shadow puppeteer herself, Rollins has become fiercely determined to make sure that the practice doesn't disappear. 

In this video made by CBC Arts correspondent Ashley Duong and featuring music by Vivian Yang Li, you'll get to see Rollins in action and hear her open up about why these fragile dolls have come to mean so much to her.

Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.