I was born in a regular-sized family of 5. My father however, has 10 siblings while my mother has 14. Such generational differences taught me the ways of life: to respect, to communicate and how to live with one another. Familial relationships play a huge role during my formative years. I am who I am thanks to everything that has been passed on from one generation to the next. I would like to commemorate this sense of identity by weaving one of my dad’s writing「家和萬事興」(Home Is Where Harmony Is) using my own black-coloured hair, onto a piece of soft red carpet. It is a slow process, one that weaves through one’s heart. According to Confucianism, one’s fear to render damage to one’s skin, hair and body, that which are gifted by our parents, reveals a beginning of one’s virtue in honouring parents. The intricate weaving process is akin to delicate family relations. It was like having an internal conversation with my family as I continue to weave, hair upon hair.
Family protects and supports, but often hinders and destroys too. The intricacies and complexities of such relations got me thinking, thus inspired me to explore the nature of familial relationships further through the medium and symbolic representation of a ‘candle’. Candle has always been a necessary element amongst my family member as it is part of our religion. Each candle burns and melts, eventually becoming one. A burning flame soothes the soul yet it could easily cause irreversible damage if one is not watchful of it: the consequences would be dreadful. The space as a whole is built in a way to reflect the structure of my home. It gives me a sense of familiarity and security which I could draw on to help me relive the moments I have spent with my family at home.
Each candle represents a member of the family, from the individual to the collective (of a family) and then to the country as a whole. As each candle burns to its life’s end, a new one would be lit and life goes on. Red wax melts away, gradually it flows, forming a river of blood, or a tree of life. This tree, then, represents my ancestor, my clan, my family.
variable dimension, endurance art: 35:00:00, video dur.: 00:27:48
wax on cotton fabric, artist’s hair on needle punch carpet , red candles, soot, wood, home’s incense sticks, wood stool, LCD