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by Teofilo Freytes, for MSA-X
We have been following Chun Hua Catherine Dong’s art work for years now and are always amazed by her intellectual and emotional profoundness. She is an artist that bares all with an immense passion that does not hide from those who confront her work. I must say we were overcome by emotion from this work on her mother’s memory. We were pushed to reciprocate by praising this lovely work on memories and nostalgia. As the artist comes to grips with the past, we, also, are confronted and lead to remember to reconcile with our past. As many of Ms. Chun Hua Catherine Dong’s works remind us, we must confront ourselves; We must take our heads out of the sand and look, feel, and be present in the world around us. Thank you Chun Hua Catherine Dong Bravo !!!!
Also impressive, is the the speed of the images and sound of the film—it is patient and as linear as the images are. We could go on but we’ll leave you to judge for yourselves on the character of this excellent Artist.
Chun Hua Catherine Dong wesite
April 4th is Chinese QingMing Festival, it is a holiday to remember and honor beloved dead ones. i upload this video this afternoon, to remember my mother. i will also post my 14 pieces of “Mother” photos every day for 14 days to remember her.
consists of 14 photographs and a video dedicating to my absent mother. Absence is a form of presence. Since my mother passed away, I went back to China where I was born and found 14 mothers who are my mother’s close friends and relatives. I bought a pair of floral embroidered traditional Chinese shoes to each mother as a gift, because my mother always loved the floral embroidered shoes. We took photographs together at each mother’s home where the mother wears the new shoes and I wear her cloth. After taking photos with each mother, I invited all mothers to come together for a group portrait.
This work seeks consolation and restores narrations of the past through visual expression of memories and loss, exploring the relationship between life and death, human existence, and universal emotions. I use re-enactment as a method of revisiting and re-imagining past to create scenarios of my mother visiting her birth place and meeting her childhood friends. Through using my own body to present my mother’s present, I reunite with my mother and become her. This work reveals how the mother/daughter relationship is experienced as a site of empowerment, and how memories cross time and space to create a new experience that not only transcends life and death, bridges past and present but also transforms emotions and realities. “Mother” is an embodiment of a melancholic longing for an unrecoverable past and a memento mori: a reminder of the inexorable passage of time and the beautiful transience of human life.
Picture: Zeng Jin Wen
Music: Shane Turner
Editor: Chun Hua Catherine Dong
To Begin – a work by Chun Hua Catherine Dong
I hang a clock on a wall, use eggs to create a rectangle, and place a stack of books in the centre, I lift all the books, hold them to on my chest, and maintain the holding position still as long as I can. If I cannot hold them anymore, I let the books drop . Each time books drop, I tear a page from a book, write the exact time when the books drop on that page, and pin it to a wall. When books drop, some eggs move slightly, some don’t move at all. If they move, I use a charcoal to trace their movements.
When I Was Born (2010 – a work by Chun Hua Catherine Dong
Yellow Umbrella – An Unfinished Conversation ( a work by Chun Hua Catherine Dong )
“The Yellow Umbrella—An Unfinished Conversation” is a performance that involves twelve performers engaging with yellow umbrellas.The umbrella is a symbol of protection and resistance. This performance seeks an intersection where aesthetics and politics ignite each other, exploring how symbolic and situational behaviors impact on our perception in regards to specific social movements and activism. It is relevant to open conversations about how to transform social and political landscapes through embodied gestures, examining relationships between the citizens and the place they live, between what they have lost and what they have gained in social political transformations.
This performance was performed at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), Montreal, Canada on Feb 7, 2015 Performed by: Zoe Bacchus, Kelsey Duffy, Bailey Eng, Alida Esmail, Maggy Flynn, Lucy Fandel, Brittney Gering, Olivia. Faye Lathuilliere, Natalie Montalvo, Kim L. Rouchdy, Mira Fister-Tadic, Mary Williamson.
Visual Poetics of Embodied Shame_ a work by Chun Hua Catherine Dong
“Visual Poetics of Embodied Shame” explores the visual culture of shame in relation to the body, subject, and power.