This project is a response to questions in my mind that are perpetually
in the state of “answers-bringing-more-questions”. Questions such as
race, democracy, capitalism, inequality, nationalism, religion, global
warming, social media, AI … the list can go on and on.
It deliberately sets out to neither offer nor seek opinions but, instead, to invite us to reflect on our childhood selves and use visual art as our subconscious mirror.
What can our childhood stories tell us about how we've changed, how we've stayed the same, how we intend to move forward?
My humble ambition is to collect 500 childhood stories and make 500 visual arts from or for the stories … and accomplish this before I exit from this world.
(I am not sure whether collecting stories or making art is more challenging - currently both are going very slowly.)
Here is some background …
I came to this world over a half of a century ago and spent my first
uneventful 18 years of my life in China during an eventful period in
China’s history - from the Cultural Revolution, to the end of Chairman
Mao’s era and to the dawn of China's so-called economic miracle of the
I went to university in Hong Kong, where I also found my first job. After 8 years living in Hong Kong, I moved to England and lived in London for 6 years, then Manchester 4 years and finally, Birmingham for 17 years and counting.
Throughout these years, I have been fascinated by the cultural differences among different regions and people. What make us … us? Who are ‘us’; who are ‘them’? I think we can find answers in our childhood stories...
In the beginning, with the stories I collected, I started making
collages with digital images, which could be used as screensavers for
smartphones, to share with the storytellers.
When I spoke to people about childhood, I often heard people commenting about how different their childhood was before the Internet and social media … “you know, nowadays, children play on their smartphones rather than playing with playdough!”
I didn’t have playdough back in my day - we had ration coupons instead! Playdough certainly looks fun so I thought I’d have a go…