One Hour With Grandma
Project Space Art Gallery, Oneonta, 2018
I visited my grandma in the 2018 winter. We shared lunch and conversation over an hour. She has been living in the family ancestral house, which was built in the 1800s in southern China, since she was married in 1946. She is now 96 years old and has been living alone for 5 years. Thus I want to spend as much time as I can with her. As her granddaughter, I wanted to capture the fleeting moments I shared with her. As a photographer, I decided to keep all of her essences alive with imageries: the pots that she used when she was married into the family, the narrow alleys that are filled with her everyday footprints, the old-fashioned coal stove that she used for making soup for her children, and her smile when I ran toward her from afar.
This series of photos includes the portrait of my grandma and her living space. I used black and white squares for still lives as well as utilizing color to highlight my grandma and objects that are connected to her through time. There was another reason for using colors on my grandma. Traditional Chinese culture believes that only dead people’s pictures are in black and white. I wanted to introduce the vibrant yet tranquil life on the other side of the globe. There the traditional rural architecture of southern China and the decorations that reflect the Communist influence in the 1900s stand still. I also wanted to emphasize my grandma’s anticipation of interacting with her children and grandchildren.