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Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see her husbandsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatan audience came to Chun Hua Catherine Dong's bed and chatted with her when she stayed on her bed for 60 hours as part of her Husbands and I exhbition at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012Husbands-and-I-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-13Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographs

performance: 60 hours, May 17-June 2, 2012, in The  Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery

installation: video, digital prints, curtains, photo albums, bed, side tables, lamps and body

during the exhibition, i lay on a bed 60 hours in the gallery, inviting audience to come to my bed to chat and sleep with me.

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada several years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I live in but don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

In an era of globalization and transnational migration, contact between cultures has given rise to pluralized and hybrid cultures. While celebrating and embracing this cultural hybridity, as an Asian Canadian, I have turned my attention to racialized individuals and minority groups, especially Asian women living in North America. Even though the world is constantly changing, the representation of Asian women doesn’t seem to change much in context of Western culture. In fact, the experience of the Asian women as enmeshed, to different degrees, with pre-existing visual representations of Orientalism and stereotyping is still normalized in modern Western culture. This situation results in a state of doubled oppression for Asian women—there is oppression both from within their own cultural communities, and oppression from external expectations relating to women of colour. This double oppression demands a performative cultural expression of racialized people according to both external and internal pressures, often resulting in a metaphorical silencing of the unique individual.

Wearing a Chinese traditional dress and acting as stereotype of an Asian woman in Western fascination might be regarded as self-essentialization, which conveys negative implication. However, this self-essentialization is not a self-generalization or self- generalizing my own Chinese essential attributes, but a self-consciousness of collectivity which is thinking the essence of my groups with awareness of the social relations and my own situation. As a result, it is a strategy. As a strategy, this self-essentialization is a political choice, a choice of deliberately acting out on culture. It is a social performance, a performance that creates a culture of resistance because in doing so the resistances can be recognized.

 

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I-Cheated-on-My-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats “I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again” in her video performance.

 

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.

 56 hours at  Concourse Gallery from May 6-20, 2011

I filled a wall space with printed text: MY HUSBANDS AND I NEED A SPACE TO LIE. I stood still in front of this wall everyday for 14 days, each day for 4 hours, holding a paper with written words: LOOKING FOR A BED. When audience walked into gallery, I shout at them as loud as  I could with very firm and angry tone: HEY! CAN I HAVE SOME CHANGE? Audiences were welcome to drop some money to a hat in front me. There about 42 people gave me some changes, total income is $122.65.

It is a protest performance addressing the fact that Emily Carr University of Art & Design rejected to exhibit my work, “Husbands and I,” at my Graduate Show in 2011. I approached the Graduate Committee couple of time to discuss it, the answer was there was no space to show such a work.  Finally,  the committee assigned me a place where it was impossible to install the work. As a result, I decided not show ” Husbands and I” Installation,  but this protest performance.

photo credit: Chad Darnford

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their mail-order brides.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides.Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides. Husbands-and-I-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-07Chun Hua Catherine Dong advertised herself in various media and asked strangers to take her to their homes to live with them for a day as their wives or mail-order brides. Husbands-and-I-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-03

video is available upon request

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada eight years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I feel I don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

 video credit: Sarah Hudson, Maksim Bentsianov, Karlo Melgarejo, Jerry Tai

 

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 Chun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collectionsChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections. the letter includes a picture of her standing on a plinthChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections, she has sent hundreds and hundreds lettersChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections, and she received lots of reject letters

Text about this project will be coming soon

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute, this man wearing green T-Shirt is one of her one-minute husbandsChun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute. She and her one-minute husband take photo together to capture their special moment

Chun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute. They took a picture together, sh and her one-minute husband are like a real coupleChun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute. She and her one-minute husband take photo together to capture their special momentChun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute. She and her one-minute husband take photo together to capture their special momentChun Hua Catherine Dong asks strangers on streets to be her husbands for a minute. They took a picture together, sh and her one-minute husband are like a real couple and lover

from a 325 husband collection

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada eight years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I feel I don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

photo credit: Ruth Skinner

 

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