Sister,chinese ink, pencil,180 × 33 cm, 2009

This piece reflects the suicide of one of my friends’ younger sisters. She told me this story one day on the bus to Pudong (a suburb of Shanghai). The basic problem was that girl’s mother was a dictator, making all the decisions, and she was not able to do any of the things that she wanted to do. Because she was from such a poor family, she felt oppressed and developed a sense of inferiority.
Speaking from the mother’s point of view, no one can say she doesn’t love her daughter. She had a terrible education and she was biased and blind to how this treatment affected her daughter. She only knows how to make noodles and bargain at the market; the world that surrounds her is very crude and unsophisticated.
Compared with Western kids, Chinese children are usually less mature and independent – it’s somewhat bizarre. With careful observation, we can see that the childhood of a Western kid corresponds with the idea of an actual childhood. The same can be said for adolescence.
Western kids learn useful knowledge, play fun games, and complete the obligations and responsibilities they ought to undertake. At the same time, each individual has his own personality and identity. However, the growth and development of Chinese kids is as messy as the history of modern China. They face a lot of homework, exams and pressure and they wear awful clothes.
So this is how they grow up, using up their time, continuously working hard. Suddenly they realize that their efforts will not bear fruits but their parents continue force them. This idea of stolen youth is a very typical theme in Chinese culture.
Meanwhile, they don’t get any kind of personal development. Such a tragedy inevitably happens; and this time I’ve conveyed it by trying to imitate Song Dynasty ink paintings.

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