quotations from Chairman Mao
Mao promised land, and he delivered. However, this was very unfortunate for the Landlords.
By 1958, Mao took back the land and collectives were created… leading to one of the worst self-induced famines ever recorded in history. Approximately 30 million citizens starved during The Great Leap Forward 1958-1961.
The goal of the Red Guards was to destroy the 4 olds… habits, ideas, customs, and culture. This piece represents the crucifying of Old China (Jesus) in order to create or resurrect a new China. This image is mounted onto pages of the New Testament with images of Chairman Mao representing the new god.
Also note the family registry. Geneology records were an important tradition in China. Many of these were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
The image of the weightlifter is transferred onto 2 image transfers of peasant paintings from the 1960s. This represents citizens working together to build a strong China. However, during this period, 30 million Chinese citizens died of starvation.
Each bag symbolizes 1 million drops of blood representing the approximately 72 million citizens who died during Mao’s reign from starvation, beatings/executions, overwork and suicide. These drops are slowly building a monument to these ‘never spoken about’ deaths… the largest democide ever recorded in history. Are we going to just forget about these people?
This performance installation also references Chairman Mao’s refusal for Chou En Lai to receive medical treatment for cancer.
It also makes reference to Ai Wei Wei’s surgery in 2009 to remove fluid on the brain while installing an exhibit in Munich… the result of a beating from Chinese Authorities.
Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976) was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, anti-imperialist, political philosopher and leader of the Chinese Revolution. He was the architect and founding father of the People’s Republic of China established in 1949 after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government during the Chinese Civil War. Mao enacted sweeping land reforms by using violence and terror to overthrow the feudal landlords and warlords. National campaigns for rapid industrialization such as the Great Leap Forward resulted in severe starvation. Anti-rightist movements and struggle sessions led to humiliation, beatings, suicides and executions. The Cultural Revolution damaged the historical culture of China by destroying ancient relics and religious sites in an effort to modernize the consciousness of the nation. Under Mao’s leadership positive changes included promoting the status of women by abolishing foot binding, arranged marriages, polygamy and allowing women to divorce. Literacy improved from 20% to 93% and life expectancy rose from 35 to 55 increasing China’s population dramatically. Corruption was wiped out and the restructuring of feudal and Confucius ideologies ensured China’s sovereignty and status as a major power on the international stage. Mao is credited for laying a foundation for China’s continued development and was named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time Magazine. While his rule is believed to have caused the deaths of 40-70 million people, he remains a controversial figure with a contentious legacy that is subject to revision and fierce debate.