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b. 1958, works and lives in Shanghai
Left 40x65x30cm; Right 50x75x30cm;

1956 – Farewell to First Love

It is 1956 when my mother said farewell to her first love. They met each other when they were four or five and then grew up together. Not surprisingly, they fell in love. However, it was not their will to be parted. It was the social culture. He was worn in a well-off family and was sent to the Second Harbin Military Academy due to his good performance at school. Although his mother could not read at all, she knew his son was going to have a bright future. Marrying a girl like my mother might not be a good option for him in terms of career developing or might even make it difficult. Marriage between families who have similar social positions was a cultural and historical outcome in China. In addition, impressive political performance was not the only requirement. A decent family without any history was a must as well. So when his mother found out something that actually might affect her son’s career, she decided to part them on purpose. The excuse was that my mother helped to provide financial support for his cousin’s education, while his mother thought his cousin should have started to earn money for the family rather than study. This was used as an excuse to make them parted. What’s worse, since my mother’s father joined the Communist Party, my mother realised that is was unlikely to ask for money from her family. In order to support his cousin, my mother chose to work in a factory to earn money instead of having further study. Even with great sacrifice, his mother, the potential mother-in-law, broke her love life. In order to maintain her dignity, she did not say anything. I believe what happened here was rather common in that age. The New Culture Movement brought ‘freedom’ to the whole nation, while the conventions and ethics were hard to get rid of. Undoubtedly, that generation suffered a lot. In that year, my mother’s friend introduced her to my father and they decided to get married after one year. Meanwhile, although he came back from Harbin as soon as he heard the news, he still lost my mother due to family pressure. They swore to be best friends for the rest of their life.

Related Exhibitions:
Files - So Far So Close, SPSI Art Museum, Shanghai 07.29, 2015 -08.14, 2015


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