"My Big Family"Hua Jin, "My Big Family," 2011, photograph.
HUA JIN, My Big Family
Richmond Art Gallery
April 20 to June 10, 2012
By Janet Nicol
When Hua Jin immigrated to Vancouver from China four years ago, she was lonely and lost. “My parents had passed away and I was divorced,” Jin explains. “I am from a generation where most of us are the only child.” Jin began thinking about her relationship to the world, and her desire to know where she was. My Big Family is the result, an exhibition of photographs, videos and text, documenting the disappearing families of her parents’ generation. “I travelled all over China locating my aunts and uncles and their children,” she says. “I looked at the social and cultural aspects of family relations and personal values.” China’s one-child policy, which impacted on Jin’s generation (although Jin has a twin) means children have grown up more self-centred. “China is developing rapidly,” she also observes. “I have one uncle who is a farmer while another uncle owns a factory. There is diversity in one big family.” She notices people are becoming richer, but not necessarily happier. “I hope through my exhibition people will slow down and see what is lost and what is valuable.” The Richmond Art Gallery will also open up Jin’s themes to public discussion in a series of related public events.