heart flower bloom
心花怒放 heart flower bloom
State Library of Western Australia
心花怒放 (sam1 fa1 nou6 fong3) heart flower bloom is an autobiographical re-making of joss papers (金紙 gam1 ji2) which are sheets of thin paper or papercrafts made to burn in offerings for worship of ancestors, deceased relatives, or deities.
Joss paper may be decorated with metallic foiled details, stamps, pieces of contrasting papers, and with detailed graphic designs and motifs of auspicious symbols, phrases, animals, fruits, and flowers.
心花怒放 is a Cantonese expression translating as ‘to be happy at heart like flowers in full bloom’. The works are a personal interpretation and commemoration of the objects and experiences of my Chinese/Cantonese/Vietnamese/Australian diaspora, through my relationship with my parents, struggles with language, and in recently re-location overseas. In making this artwork, I thought about futures, ancestors, the passing down of my culture, and of my family's knowledge through many languages. Cantonese is an important part of my cultural identity but only when I am with family. The small elements of text are Cantonese ideophones. The work also references the heavily ornate design of Joss paper, the patterns on patterns, the colours and objects of auspicious symbols and items. I hope to fill my joss paper with my hopes and dreams for my own future with a colourful, bright, inviting, and soft way of being.
All the materials themselves are sourced from a recent family trip to Vinh Long, my parents’ hometown.
heart flower bloom was presented as part of Seasons, Histories, and Hopes: Imagined Migrant Futures: a group exhibition featuring artworks by Steven James Finch (Gok1 Lim1) and Susan Finch (Ah1 Kim1), The Doneo Sibs, Gabby Loo and Nang Voe Hom, Patrick Gunasekera, Nadia Macaulay and Giok Lian, Aisyah Aaqil Sumito, Vidya Rajan and Meera Thiagarajan, Patrick Bryce, Alina Tang, Colin Smith, and Nazerul Khairy Ben-Dzulkefli.
The group exhibition is the creative outcome of Imagined Migrant Futures, a community art and research project initiated by Finch and Loo for their fellowship, which focused on decoloniality and Asian migrant autobiographic expression in Western Australia.
Featuring photography, sound, textiles, sculpture, installation, and performance art, Seasons, Histories and Hopes explores personal identity through a multiplicity of cultural knowledges.
Images by Gabby Loo