On first mention, “pop-up book” conjures images of colorful children’s books that, when opened, unfold 3-D scenes or have tabs that, when pulled, cause objects on the page to slide or stand up.
But when the art form appeared in the 14th century, it accompanied scholarly treatises on astronomy and anatomy — only relatively recently have pop-up or movable books become something associated closely with kids’ literature.
Colette Fu’s pop-up dioramas, considerably more elaborate than what you’d find at a bookstore, harken back to that tradition of pop-ups aimed at adult audiences.
If that name sounds slightly familiar, it’s because she’s the daughter of Pearl Fu, founder of Roanoke’s Local Colors festival. Though she’s still a Virginia resident, Colette Fu lives in Philadelphia, where she creates enormous foldout pop-ups that double as photo essays.
Awarded a Fulbright fellowship in 2008, she traveled to her mother’s childhood home — Yunnan province in China — and took photographs documenting the 25 ethnic minorities who live there. Those photographs became the building blocks of her exhibit of 16 handmade pop-ups, “We Are Tiger Dragon People.”
Fu’s works will be on exhibit this weekend at the Taubman Museum of Art as part of the Marginal Arts Festival. Today at noon, she’ll give a talk at the museum about her travels. Her pop-ups will be on display starting at 5 p.m. during a reception that’s free for Marginal Arts Festival passport holders.
Even though her exhibition will be up only through Sunday, “I’m excited about it,” Fu said in a phone and e-mail interview last month, adding that she had not yet been inside Roanoke’s new art museum.
She and her mother will return to the Taubman on Sunday, with daughter heading a pop-up workshop and mother hosting a Chinese New Year celebration.