我们 (Wǒmen), 2016
Vinyl and graphite on wall
Dimensions variable

我们 is a love letter from a woman in Canada to a woman in China. Utilizing the techniques of how Chinese characters and script is learned; the woman in Canada repeatedly writes the words 我们 meaning “us” to the receiver. Lost in translation, is the phonetic pronunciation of 我们, read as wǒmen in Mandarin. The emphasis on a romantic relationship fails to be communicated although the message of unity is conveyed. In China, homosexuality is a generally perceived as a personal matter that is not accepted as the social norm. Although it is not outright condemned, civil rights based on sexual orientation and identity are not protected and the government largely censors queer media. This letter attempts to compare the treatment of LGBTQ issues between the two countries, while offering solidarity from afar. Reflecting on China’s adamant concept of national alliance, 我们 offers an example of how political ideals are repetitively mimicked and learned. The artist cannot write fluently in Chinese. With each edition, her penmanship improves slightly, demonstrating a gradual conversion towards the idiomatic process.

Photos by Morris Lum.