Chun Hua Catherine Dong
Chun Hua Catherine Dong is a Chinese-born Montreal (Canada) based artist. She has exhibited her works and performed in multiple national and international venues and festivals. Among many other grants and awards, she was listed as one of the “10 Artists Who Are Reinventing History” by Canadian Art in 2017, and was a finalist of the Contemporary Art Award at Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in 2020. Her artistic practice is based in performance art, photography and video. Within the contemporary context of global feminism, her work deals mainly with cultural intersections created by globalization. She works on the idea of representation as a political tool to give visibility to those made invisible by dominant ideologies. Her newer works show the body as a bridge connecting East and West, past and present: a new version of hybridity for transcendence and healing.
About the artwork
Mother consists of 14 photographs and a video dedicated to the artist’s deceased mother. After her death, Chun Hua Catherine Dong visited China, and met 14 of her mother’s friends who are also mothers. They took photographs together in the women’s homes, wearing their clothes and the floral shoes she brought as a gift (the artist’s mother loved them).
The artist uses re-enactment as a method of revisiting the past to create scenarios of her mother visiting her birth place. Using her own body to present her mother’s presence, she reunites with her and becomes her. This work reveals how the mother/daughter relationship is experienced as a site of love and care, and how memories cross time and space. Mother is the embodiment of a melancholic longing for an unrecoverable past, and a memento mori. As the artist says, “absence is a form of presence”.