THE LOST TWELVE YEARS
CHUN HUA CATHERINE DONG
step 1. I slightly bend my head to right, pinching my forehead with water until a dark red dot appears.
step 2. I continue pinching my forehead while bending my body with tension.
step 3. I pick a porcelain spoon in the bowl and scratch my neck firmly with the spoon until a dark red line appears from my lower chin to upper chest.
step 4. I posit the teapot on my head, pouring ink from the teapot to my arched back to create a line. After the ink is gone, I straighten my back and stand still. I suddenly shake my head; the teapot smashes to pieces.
step 5. I kneel on the painting, lift the water gun and point to my head and shoot, and then I point to my heart and shoot. The shooting is gentle in the beginning but becomes gradually faster and faster. I repeat the action of shooting my head and heart until the ink in the water gun runs out.
This work examines the relationships between where I live, what I have lost and what I have gained as a racial minority. The piece is a ritual meditation, as the ink traditionally used as an artistic tool is used as a weapon upon myself. The gestures are political gestures. It is not only an apology for my twelve year absence but also a manifestation that reveals my urgent need to renew my lost tradition and culture. In this work, I baptize myself with Chinese ink to preserve my identity from self-transformation and self-assimilation, and to capture my stray soul in a foreign land.