Lam Yuk Fai

Family & I
Grandmother Son Bride Double Happiness Piano Breakfast Closed on Sunday Chinese New Year Tent Stairs Structuring Coloring
Country & I
Last Dynasty Sunrise in Beijing Sunset in Beijing Distorted Monument Preposterous Square Deng Xiao Ping Chinese's Hardship Sun Yat Sen
Trees 1 Trees 2 Final Chapter - Land Final Chapter - Trees Want Not, Waste Not
Ego
Heaven & I
Who Jesus Christ Psalm 19
Other
Art in Hospital Back from Documenta 9 Drawing 1 Drawing 2 Drawing 3 Prints 1 Prints 2 Prints 3 Prints 4 Prints 5
The Tribulations of China

The Tribulations of China   |   2000   |   Installation



At the beginning of the 19th century, British merchants trafficked opium into China, corrupting the people. The Qing government enacted drastic laws against the drug, resulting in the British brazenly declaring war. The unprepared Chinese were swiftly defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking, the first of the so called 'unequal treaties'. This century procured some of history's most humiliating and horrendous tribulations, leaving an irreversible scar in the Chinese people to this day. How can such a tremendous scar be remedied by avoidance and repression? Therefore Lam Yuk Fai attempts healing though the creation of this installation. He prepared clay skulls filling seven boxes, each labeled with a seal depicting a historical event that caused the gruesome scars. This includes the Opium war in 1840; Allied Forces invading China in 1901; four decades of civil war between 1911 – 1949; the Japanese invasion of China in 1937; the Nanjing Massacre in December of the same year; the Great Leap Forward in 1959, and the Cultural Revolution for a period of ten year in 1966. 49 peaceful, honest and simple Chinese faces have been projected on the rear wall. The unambigous images create a contrast to the obscure skulls inside the box while the rugged boxes and tattered seals indicate the historical tarnish.