Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost

Chun Hua Catherine Dong (Montreal): I Have Been There

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is a Chinese-born Montreal-based visual artist working with performance, photography, and video. She received a BFA from Emily Carr University Art & Design and MFA from Concordia University in Canada. She has performed in multiple international performance art festivals and venues around the world. 

For CAFKA.20 Chun Hua Dong will present “I Have Been There,” an on-going public performance intervention in which the artist makes a duvet with Chinese traditional brocade silk fabric each time she visits visit a new place. Covered by the duvet, the artist lays still on the significant public spaces, historical sites, landmarks, tourist attractions, and memorials as sign of negotiating and engaging with cultures and spaces. 

This project is inspired by a funeral tradition in the artist's hometown in China. When an elder person dies, daughters of this elder make duvets with silk fabrics, called shrouds, to cover their dead parent’s body. If the elder has six daughters, this elder’s body will be covered by six different duvets, layer by layer. For Chun Hua Dong, as a person living abroad alone without family and children, there is the nagging question of who will bury her when  she dies. Chun Hua makes her own shrouds and buries herself publicly and repeatedly as a way of celebrating death, or in other words, her existence. China Hua Dong has been performing “I Have Been There” since 2015. She has performed this piece in more than 300 different sites in 30 cities and 15 countries.