Posted by: avila22a | December 14, 2015

A Relic of the Past

pokchilau

A few weeks ago, our class had the privilege of visiting the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum for a private viewing. One piece in particular struck me: Pok Chi Lau’s photograph of a man in China post-revolution. At first glance it is not clear whether or not the photo is actually two photos combined as one is in black and white and the other in color. Though the man in the photo is emaciated, his stance seems defiant. Given context, we learned that the man had been around during the revolution, presumably when the red wall seen on the left was still intact. Behind him is a Chairman Mao, artfully placed to remind the viewer that even though the revolution is over it is inescapable. The man himself is a relic of the revolution and the past is more than just tangible: it surrounds him. He is old enough to know what China was like before the revolution. Interestingly enough, the Chinese believe red to mean good luck and that it wards off evil. However, painted in white is the Chinese symbol for “communism” on the red wall.


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