The Long Season
Installation view
Open Home Project

Don’t Tell Your Mom     Singing and Smile

Singing and Smile
Based on "Don't Tell Your Mother", "Sing and Smile" is a performance art created with the background and inspiration of my childhood traumatic experience of sexual abuse. This song is a very popular children's song in China. It describes the beauty, peace and love of the world from the perspective and tone of children.

The meaning of the lyrics:

When you go back home take my song with you.

But you never take your smile away.

When you go back home take my song with you.

But you never take your smile away.

Tomorrow this song will be heard,

every corner of the world,

every corner of the world.

Tomorrow this smile will be flowers,

blossom in the spring time,

blossom in the spring time.

In this performance, I put the man's blade in my mouth and sang the song "Singing and Smiling" bluntly. Men's blade is a metaphor for men and my childhood trauma. I felt physical discomfort and fear when I put it in my mouth; I melt these feeling into the song to ironically express the response to the sexual abuse I suffered in my childhood.


Don’t Tell Your Mom

Don’t Tell Your Mom. It relays the story about my trauma of childhood sexual abuse from a personal perspective. It finds its origins in my childhood memories, which were attempted to be covered up by the person who physically abused me. The words “don’t tell your mom” became the symbol for this experience of trying to erase my trauma. I grew up in a traditional Chinese family where there is a lack of sex education. In effect, there was a lack of awareness about self-protection for children, and we felt ashamed to talk about the word “sex” in public. I kept my secret of sexual abuse for 18 years until I gained healing and peace in making photos, then this body of work was born.

I used my body and different objects with symbolic significance through multiple art forms: the lumen print process, staged photographs, and sculpture installation as metaphors to euphemistically express my inner struggle, hopelessness, fear and experience. This complicated process also created an experimental inner dialogue about traumatic memories of physical sexual abuse, and the potential of healing through photography as a visual language.