“Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend.” Mao By projecting hundreds of rotating images of different western artists, of which each image depicts a flower in some way, onto my wife, Le, I hope to convey that there are many different schools of thought found within the western art world, which my wife may not have had the chance to be exposed to if she had not grown up in the West.
From 1956 to 1957 The Chinese Communist party (under Mao) led a campaign entitled ‘100 Flowers Campaign’. It was an invite for intellectual people in the arts, literature and other creative fields to voice their thoughts and concerns on then current social and political problems to encourage possible solutions. This (it is believed) was a trap for the government to identify individuals who had different or opposing view points. Soon after the campaign was initiated, Mao began the Anti-Rightist Campaign where he rounded up anyone who opposed the Chinese Communist Party. My wife’s family is originally from China. Both sets of her grandparents left during this period to avoid persecution. Both grandparents traveled to Vietnam where they lived and raised their children before Vietnam also became communist. Le’s parents and their young children (my wife was only two years old) then fled to Australia where she was raised. Now, she is living with me in the Pacific Northwest and embracing the American culture. Being married to an American artist, she is exposed to a multitude of western artists and art that I wonder if she would have had the chance to see had her family stayed in China.