Video

PEONY

Karen Kew

2005, 07:00 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 418.13

The peony is called the Flower of Riches and Honour in Chinese, and is the emblem of love and affection, as well as being a symbol for feminine beauty. The piece explores these notions through a tale that imagines the inner workings of a family of sisters who grew up in the early to mid 1900's in colonial and apartheid South Africa. The work explores the intergenerational cultural norms that formed the basis of their identities, such as foot binding and the displacement that accompanies the diasporic experience.The soundtrack uses an excerpt of Chinese opera that speaks about a lovelorn and rejected concubine to create a backdrop for the descent of these sisters into loneliness and abandonment.

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