Documentation of Performance
‘Hóngbāo’ is documentation of a performance in 2013, during which visitors were gifted with a red envelope containing a unique drawing from a recent newspaper image. In Chinese, and other Asian societies, a red envelope or ‘hóngbāo’ (討紅包), is a monetary gift which is given during holidays or special occasions. Red envelopes are mainly presented at social and family gatherings to young children as a wish to ‘suppress growth’ or to keep them young and innocent at heart. The red colour of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
The images inside and the red envelope, collectively as objects, are intended to represent a disengagement from reality due to the profusion of visual information and digital image production. The act of gifting the hóngbāo is a wish, presented from artist to audience, to suppress or ward off the sometimes unimaginable horrors (or banality) of our everyday existence, as shown to us in the news.
This piece was performed as part of the Parallax exhibition at the Mile End Art Pavilion in London, 30 May- 8 June 2013, which exhibited work by 11 Artists of Mixed-Heritage and Mixed-Ethnicity, addressing the Truths and Illusions of Cultural Identities.
© Sara Dziadik 2022