This is the first official performance by me with my boys: Tao and Zen.
权Rights, Power and Authority. During 20mins live performance I build a 木Wood shape character by using local died plants: Giant reed and my sons carried another half of the character 又 means again and repetition. Embodies with this word: 权power, authority and rights we are running. Audio tells the history of this word and mixed with protest news recorded from around the world calling for: human rights, woman’s rights, queer’s rights and animal rights … gives the social and emotional context to our action of running.
Yesterday, China puts ChengDu, my hometown: A city of 21millions into Covid lockdown. Tonight, many are queuing in the rain for Covid testing due to China’s strict zero case policy. This huge sudden entries has crashed the city’s digital contact and trace system also many people’s hope for more realistic and humanity approach from the authority.
Sensational title on the society page, photos with mosaic cover our eyes …
In the past 6 months, a mother of eight children locked up in an iron chain has captivated the attention of many people in and outside of China. It is beyond a tragic human trafficking case.
There are many twists and turns in the narrative. After huge public outrage authorities in China’s Xuzhou city issued 5 statements and named Chained Mother as “Xiaohuamei: “ Little Plum Blossom – a woman was sold three times from south-western Yunnan province to Feng county. But is she truly her?
Can DNA being fake? Can identify be swap?Can 1.4 billion people save one woman?Can the internet hottest topic break the censorship wall? When is the systematic structure of rape fall? Is this horrific tragedy only happens in China? Are we truly protected in so-call more civilized city? Religion, morality, tradition, custom, politics and law, why everything over powering a woman’s choice roar!
Silenced, Jailed, Disappeared…
Delete, Remove, Forget …
Opening act at The Non-fungible Body performance Festival, Linz, Austria
I choose to wear white because it’s world peace sentiment and most importantly I was imaging as the performance goes, the energy and the shift of missing piece creates abstract clouds just like the exhibition title: This room moves at the same speed as the clouds. I wanted to in-body the cloud. ☁️
My outfit was combined with newly bought items: tights, underwear and jacket and my own loved designer clothes: shirt, skirts and shoes but this time I made a decision not to wear European Union heritage brands. I didn’t want to have the concept of “cutting” related to them because of the Russian-Ukraine war and Brexit. Still I wanted to offer my best outfit also most recognisable classic brands that has their own social identity and global expansion and influence. Here are some of my thinkings:
Jacket: Ralph Lauren ( one of the oldest American luxury brand based in New York, many people would considered it as the icon of American/Western lifestyle.)
Shirt: Vivienne Westwood, UK brand ( “The mother of punk” Vivienne Westwood is also an Eco fashion campaigner, social injustice activist, consumerism ideologist. )
Skirt: Alexander McQueen, UK brand: ( This was a vintage piece designed by Lee McQueen himself, who has a vision to “create armor for women”. To wear that to cover my bottom because both myself and Lee has experienced abuse from childhood. ) for me, Lee’s proud queer identity, HIV positive status, drugs use and tragic suicide makes him one of the most complex icon of our time.
Underwear: Calvin Klein ( one of the most iconic cultural symbol of body and branding. In 2020, Calvin Klein made a statement to cut ties with any factories or mills that produce fabric or use cotton from Xinjiang by 2021 due to human rights Al campaigners say, the cotton are produced by Xinjiang’s Uighur minority forced labour. )
Tights: Wolford ( This was the only European brand I used for it’s second skin feel and intimate last protection concept )
Shoes: Manolo Blahniks: ( It’s a pair of very classic heel. Many used as symbol of modern femininity, often used as feminist statement in soap opera such as: Sex and The City.
Film screening on the March 25th, 2022 at Central Michigan University
Gifts For The River Film Festival seeks to celebrate our relationship with the land and waterways that sustain us. To celebrate the artists and filmmakers who are in intentional relationship with the natural world and utilize their medium to create awareness about the issues that threaten Mother Earth as well as celebrate the ongoing resilience of Turtle Island and the peoples who care for it.
Harbinger – create a physical and digital exhibition about marginalised communities dealing with the climate crisis in line with COP26 which is on the 1st -12th November 2021.
The exhibition also showcases the stories of artists and how they and their art have been affected, as a result. These stories are married with recorded interviews with a leading dermatologist consultant explaining the effects of chemical treatments on the hair and skin, and parallel recorded interviews with soil scientists from renowned international universities showing the effects of chemical treatments on the soil, wildlife, plants, and the effect as these chemicals make their way down through the earth to the water table. This is an integral part of the exhibition and a curatorial decision to marry the emotional and scientific elements to powerfully show the impact on marginalised women’s skin and hair and the impact on the earth’s skin.
There will be photographic examples of biodiversity due to hair chemical treatments being invested within the soil. Finally, archival materials showcasing historical evidence of the creation of mass chemical treatments because of profit from white cis man-made industries.
Conversation with Duan Ying Mei about my performance art as part of her exhibition in Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
The performative Body
Photos by Jamie Baker
1.Little Red Flower
‘My earliest performative act was put my hand at 90 degree angle whenever I need to speak.’ In this performance, I reflected on my childhood communist education by covering my body with branded red lipsticks.
2.Be the Inside of the Vase
Through brutal personal history I addressed sexually political statements from my mother: ‘Don’t be a vase, pretty but empty inside, be the inside of the vase!’
3.Balls of steel
Come to tingle my rusty bell, I will sing for you, I will tell you a story… 5hours spontaneous storytelling performance.
4.Three Cannon Balls
A head, two fists covered by sticky rich balls. Three sauce labeled aside: brown sugar/communist education, soya powder/culture heritage, sesame seeds/western education. Audiences were invited to dress me with a chose of sauce.
5.Mountain and Water
Faced with the failure of the human order, learned men sought permanence within … the mountains to find a sanctuary from the chaos of dynastic collapse.
家 (Jia) means Home, also my mother’s middle name. She was born 1957, her life story meets every changing political event in modern Chinese history.
From age 4-7, I lived in a boarding communist nursery. June 1989, I was not able to go home for one month . Teacher gave all the students one little red flower a day as an emotional comfort. During this performance, I slapped myself… until the Chinese characters fell into powder.
8.Painting until it becomes marble 10days after my mother in law’s death, I painted a picture with my hair. Sorrow and grief transformed into lines and splashes, recorded my profound feeling of loss.
9.Part of a Lighthouse
Faced painted Chinese character “光” : Light. 12 words were should out.12 ropes threw from 12 spaces, dragged between audiences, I built a light house inside the museum.
10.Story of the Stone
For all the people that suffered in domestic violence, for all the women that were forced into a mad house, for all the children that were victims of elder abuse … I was buried inside 3tones of stones up to my rib cage, audience are invited to remove them.
Bazaar presents the ultimate guide to London’s annual celebration of art
Rewriting the narrative
Join Helena Lee, acting deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar and founder of East Side Voices, in conversation with three of the brightest East Asian artists working in Britain today: Xie Rong, Vivien Zhang and Kristy Chan. They will cover everything from finding strength in their artistic voice during the pandemic, to breaking boundaries with their cultural vision. Expect an evening of frank conversation about staying true to yourself and to your art form.
Lawn Are an Ecological Disaster, Are you surprised?
This year I have been researcher on the history of Lawn. Reflecting on the social and environmental impacts of Lawns, family roots, man occupied space, collective memories, native species beyond human centred perspectives. How visionary plans for the city can be sustainable for generations to come.
Portrait 爱LOVE is made from layers of wild flowers and weeds from our lawn. The character written across my face reads: Love. If the lawn is a symbol of status and a sign of pride and unity in the community, I truly wish our love for a manicured lawn can be more inclusive by allowing it to grew higher and more wild.
Film: TianFu Lawn: Keep off the Grass In early 90s, my father’s business was declining. He borrowed money from his friends and family to invest in properties. A trusted the contact in the government, shared a secret business opportunity. Chengdu is redesigning its city centre on Ren Min south road, where the imperial city was demolished during the Cultural Revolution. My father can invest in one real estate and turn it into a shop front. This seems to be a golden opportunity to change his life, he dreamed excitedly the future customers spending fortune on his merchandise in the middle of this heavenly city centre. One year later, the reality was unexpected and cruel. This city centre square that many people was waiting for was 88000 square meters of lawn. Lawn does not grow well in China so for the next 24years, “Keep Off the Grass” has become a symbol for a civilised city. Together with ground-breaking urban modernisation, our motherland has transformed from mountains and water, villages and gardens to forests of irons and concretes decorated by manicured and not so evergreen turf patches.
XieRong’s wild lawn & neighbour’s manicured lawn, Surrey England
TianFu Square in1980, ChengDu China
XieRong’s father in TianFu Square, 1991, ChengDu China
Echo Morgan (Xie Rong) is a performance artist. She has always been interested in the relationship between Body, Memory and Politics through gesture, mark making and storytelling. Through video and an audience Q&A, she will share her research into some inspirational artist’s projects (including Betsy Damon, Zheng Bo and Song Chen), that address important environmental issues through the theme of water, plants and soil.
Human 人 -Little white flower
Live performance @ilminmuseumofart? @jamiebakerphotography
1997, I was 14years old. I had my first article published on national newspaper. I passionately wrote my grief for the death of DengXiaoPing. Sorrow is a strange thing when you see everyone around you was crying, tv channel was playing funeral songs, over over again, all newspapers were filed with condolences … people were in black and wore white paper flowers, it affect you, It makes you sad, our school decided to stop classes for three days instead we were setting in the classroom watching documentaries about Deng’s achievement and folding hundreds of thousands white paper flowers. We then decorated them around the classrooms, hallway, and every trees around the school.
Yesterday was PR China’s 70 years birthday. The entire nation was celebrating its victory and power. My cousin woke up 6am in the morning to watch the rising flag ceremony at the city square in my hometown ChengDu. All her classmates were in uniforms, standing in the rain, national flag painted on their little face, shined with bright smiles. On TV, I watched the replay of the whole parade. The familiar pride, smiles, absolute perfection, millions of people in one voice, millions of steps in uniformed movement. The patriotism was in the air and deep in people’s blood. .
Five demands, no one less. The message from Hongkong is loud and serious, one 18years old protester was shot on the chest right next his heart … watching them online, they have nothing but a brave heart. 269 people were arrested on the national day, 178 male, 91 female. age from 12-71. Aiweiwei posted the number this morning.
My heart and thoughts goes to Hongkong. It’s not about Hongkong independence! They have shown the real hope for democracy and real strength of dignity! Once were so precious to the true Chinese identity and still so important to our world peace and humanity.
Human 人- Prisoners 囚
When I was 3years old, a disable old man bought me a rocking horse. He told me the first English word I knew: “ White “. He was my grandfather. One of the most intelligent man I have never get to know. Grandpa Yong, speaks five languages. That made him one the main target in the culture revolution. A Slave to Western Culture. The red guards broken his legs and he died of depression in early 90s.
I whitened my face, while telling the story, I applied two brush strokes with finger: two line joined at the top splits down the bottom, like a standing man, read: 人 Ren, : Human. Black ink covered my mouth, silenced me.
Live performance at Ilmin Museum of Art
Part of PAN Asia performance festival
Photo by Jamie Baker
Waves of arrests in Hongkong. “Police have rounded up children as young as 12 years old on suspicion of unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons or rioting, often based solely on the color of their clothing and objects in their bags. Of the 1,596 people arrested since protests began in June, 464 were students, including 207 this month. “ – Los Angeles Times.
Families began to warn me, what to say and what not to post ; Friends are divided over opinions…
The laughter reminds me of those flowers,
Quietly open for me in every corner of my life,
I thought I would always be by her side,
Today we have left, searching in different parts of the world.
How are they?
Are they still there?
They have been blown away by the wind and scattered around the horizon.
Yoko Ono “Peace is Power” exhibition @yokoonoofficial
Heavy heart following the live-stream of Hongkong Protest. Don’t know where the passion will leads the land … reading brutal comments from opposite viewers. Only finding peace in Patti Smith’s words :
a mourning wreath
nothing but grief
nothing but blooms
cascading as dust
nothing but hatred
and the terrible cost
At the other side of the water
Chinese song from 1975
Verdant green grass, Misty white fog
There is someone at the other side of the water, I wish to drift down steam, to meet up with my closed one. However, there is dangerous swamp awaits and the journey far and long. I wish to force the wave and push up searching for her direction. far away vaguely I see her standing right there: in the center of the water.
An old man was interviewed to tell his story about the Great Escape. Vast numbers of mainlanders fled to #Hongkong illegally by swam cross the “XiangJiang” river which divided the broader from mainland and Hongkong. During the 1950-1970 it also define the opposition between capitalism and socialism. He was 14years old, swam, ran and hide for months, together with his mother they swam crossed the XiangJiang river. The rain was heavy… a big flood is on its way, the mother and son grabbed hold of a tree, mother pushed him to climbed up, suddenly many voices shouted from the tree. “push him down, it’s full here!” In the dark light they realized there were hundreds of people also in the water, many try to grab his legs and pull him down. The mother begged:”please let him stay, I lost my husband and other son in the water already! He is only 14! He needs to stay alive, pull him up please!” People did, helped her to hold him up, she used her body to support him … for hours, she stood in the water… the rain gets heavier, waves crashed in, dragged her into the dark. After that storm, many baby floated up but he never found hers.
The Chinese word “Sea” constructed in three parts: water, human and mother.
It’s a word about bodies. body of human, body of water. body of individual and collective history.
We all remember little #AlanKurdi that three-year-old Syrian boy drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. We all saw photo of two bodies in one red t-shirt. Face down, died but together. The Salvadoran migrant #OscarMartinezRamirez and his 23months old daughter, who #drownedwhile trying to cross the Rio Grande in Matamoros.
Human history is a record of #migration; migration is search for #home.
Photo by @annakucera.au Curated by @alexieglass
家- HongKong on my mind
家 (Jia) means Home, Family and Country. But most dearly It’s my mother’s middle name. My mother’s early life meets every changing political event in modern China.
My mother was born in 1957, two years after the birth of her brother, my mum is the seventh daughter in the family. Her arrival had broken my great-granny’s dream for more grandsons so my mum was the “bad luck”. Her childhood was during The Three Years of Natural Disasters. She remembered she was always starving.
During those year 1957, 1962, 1972 and 1979 marked the four major booms in illegal emigration to Hong Kong, as mainlanders had suffered greatly from the Cultural Revolution, which included vast famine. According to research and my investigations, about two million people flooded into Hong Kong as illegal immigrants, often with great personal loss, and more people died on their way or were caught and repatriated.
There are many touching footages shown when some of the mainland Chinese illegal immigrants hide in the mountains, the local Hongkong citizen brought food and clothes to help, they even surrounded the deportation vans and threw food into the vans… eventually that group of illegal immigrants stayed in HongKong! The wave of illegal emigration also prompted the mainland authorities to rethink their economic policy, scholars said. Late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who was said to blame extreme leftist policies for the mass escape, launched the “reform and opening up” policy and endorsed the development of Shenzhen – a key hub for illegal migration – into a special economic zone in the late 1970s … .
2017, together with my mother and my boys I had my first Solo exhibition in HongKong, the local Art Hongkong Magazine kindly made this cover of me. Same year HongKong Perspective awarded me the “40 under 40 Art price .” .
My heart is with all the Hongkonger on the street protest today! For your strength and bravery! Please stay safe.The world is watching and celebrating the solidarity with you! ❤️ .
Photo by Photo by Jamie Baker
Pearl of the Orient ?? By Luo Da You
Little river convolutedly flows to the south
Drifting to Hong Kong to take a look
Pearl of the Orient, my love
Your elegant demeanor and romanticism are still the same?
The harbor of curve moon
The color of night is deep, and the light and the fire are sparkling and bright
Pearl of Orient doesn’t sleep all night
Keep the promise of vicissitudes of life
Have let the sea wind blow for five thousand years
As if each tear speaks about your dignity… ?
1997, I heard this song for the first time and sang it passionately in the People’s square with millions of ChengDu citizens to celebrate the return of Hongkong to our motherland. I was 14, like the rest of the mainland China girls I thought I was free and Hongkong is coming home!
It has been hard few days following up the news and watching the story turned darker… reading the papers in both Chinese and English with completely different narratives that painted opposite sense of realities … ( most of mainland Chinese won’t even know what happened in Hongkong because all the news are consorted and removed, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are blocked ). The more I look into the situation the more I questioning my life grew up in 80’s China and recall my recent memories when I visited my Chinese artist friends who are live in fears and under oppressions. All the unfair legal cases that happened to the people I knew and cared … It is easy for one to conclude that China has no #humanrights but it is heartbreaking to gradually realized that yourself! Because it is still where all my family are live and where my roots are deeply buried and a home where I wish my children will keep loving! ?