2017 - 2019
China; Wuhan, Hubei, China; Beijing, China
The song of love drifts in the wind,
Our hearts fly to the distance,
Look at that beautiful revolutionary ideal.
Contribute youth and strength to the motherland.
Dear people, go hand in hand, go hand in hand,
Our life is full of sunshine and full of sunshine.
These are lines from a song used in the 1980’s to introduce family planning to the people of China.
In Our life is full of sunshine, Cato Van Rijckeghem researched the underlying cultural problem that led to the adoption of her own sister, an unwanted daughter who was abandoned on the streets in China as a baby. The one-child policy was supposed to be a solution for a population problem but it caused more problems on its own. While the Government is starting to fix its own damage, Van Rijckeghem is researching the blank spaces that have been left behind. The culture-specific preference for a son constructed a challenging situation for the less desired daughters.
The project focuses on the shared story of the women who did stay in their birth-families, a generation of young Chinese women who were born in a country with a one-child policy. This work is about their everyday reality and the collective loneliness they experience. Letters, audio and photographs were gathered in an intimate and personal way to form the work out of conversation with the women this work is about. After this personal approach, Van Rijckeghem regained a sense of anonymity by putting the words and images together in an interchangeable entity, out of respect for the people the work is about and to emphasize the collective nature of the work.
- As you can read in the description, this work also includes a video, an audio tape with the story of a woman who wasn't an only child. It is the counter story to the letter, telling the story of the only child. I couldn't enter this video, since it's not a .png or .jpg file. Please let me know if I can send the video afterwards to show you.