To Rebel is Justified

Photography : 40”x50” each, 12 pieces, 2013

 

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She stands on a chair and holds a board to confess.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. she salutes with her left hand in a pig house

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. she is tied up in a classroom

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. she is tied on a pole like a dog

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She is spanked and punished

Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. she is disciplined by kneeing on a red washboard

” To Rebel is Justified” consists of 12 pieces of 40” x50” photographs that re-examines historical socio-political moments through performing body, questioning the relationships between power, the individual, collective memory and resistance. This work seeks an intersection where aesthetics and politics ignite each other, how symbolic and situational behaviours impact on our perception regarding specific social movements and activism, and how we look back to those moments both within and beyond the visual arts to imagine possibilities for an uncertain future.

In this work, I adopt the famous slogan, “To Rebel is Justified,” used by the Red Guard duration the Chinese Cultural Revolution, to title my work. I employ my own performing body as a site of social inscription and primary medium to create a fictional representation of the Red Guard – an iconic figure of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She is not only mischievous and a trouble-seeker, but also innocent and vulnerable. In this work, symbols are used but reversed. The distortion of costume and gesture transforms the image of the guard zealously defending the revolution in realty into a kind of caricature, bringing the embodiment of absurd devotion to an extreme. Body is political.  Body in this work is the experienced reality that bears various forms of violence and humiliation. The submissive postures with a neutral expression recalls the suffering and powerlessness of those who were labeled enemies of the Revolution, revealing a sensitive and vulnerable human being hiding under the military uniform.

This series has been exhibited at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) , Montreal, 2015, for more info, please visit the link below
http://chunhuacatherinedong.com/portfolio/to-rebel-is-justified/

For catalog essay by by Milly Alexandra Dery, please visit
http://chunhuacatherinedong.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/To-Rebel-is-Justified-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong.pdf

photo credit: Qu Chang