Text by the artist; computer printing, heat transfer, appliqué, machine stitching and edging; unbleached cotton fabric, silk thread, woven silk ribbon, hand cut nickel-silver medallion pierced with a Chinese character for "family".
26.5 x 10.5 cm (closed), 26.5 x 35 x 1.7 cm (open)
Artist's Statement: As a nation, we Canadians see ourselves as peacemakers and peacekeepers. We encourage those from around the planet to seek our borders as a refuge from war and strife, from hardship and persecution. We attempt to respect the unique qualities of our past and present immigrants; those that have contributed to the diverse and exciting people that we are today. This "mosaic" approach to our society makes Canada a unique, strong and proud country.
My children come from a background of strife. Abandoned on the steps of orphanages, they were taken in and cared for by the Chinese society to which they were born. They were fed, clothed, and cared for. Despite the oppressive population and extreme poverty of the region in which they existed, their government and people made certain that they lived. They made certain that they had a future to dream of.
With its open political connections to the Chinese government, its diplomatic ties, and willing acceptance of new immigrants, Canada facilitated the creation of the family that I dreamt of. I am so very proud to be a part of a mosaic, one that makes room for all.
Note: The Chinese whirlwind binding (Xuanfeng zhuang) is an ancient structure whose specific heritage is uncertain. Historically, it has been linked to the Tang Dynasty rhyme dictionary (CE 618-907), and shows evidence of having disappeared by the time of the Song Dynasty (CE 907-1279). This transitional binding style seems to have breeched the gap between different periods, transitioning between scroll and what we think of as contemporary book structures.
For this reason, this binding style seemed the perfect structure for this piece. It represents the rich and proud traditions of my daughters' Chinese heritage, yet epitomises the transition between their past and their path forward. It is beautiful as it is, in the here and now, yet in its very physicality it echoes the hopes and vision for an exciting tomorrow.
The character on the medallion of the scroll is one of the Chinese symbols for "family". It was written for me by a Chinese calligrapher, himself an immigrant to Canada, whom I met through bookbinding. After a long discussion about my project, he presented me with the character for "family" that best represents home, warmth, love, and security. I treasure this symbol for my family, and am proud to have it wrapped tightly around my work and my dreams.
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