Wang Yingying

Yingyings project titled, Where my Heart Settles Down is a personal journey back to her birthplace that her mother and father lived she says of this journey:

“Since the divorce of my parents when I was little and the estrangement between my father and me, my only impression of my family when it was still complete is, in addition to my fragmented childhood memories, my birthplace, Guantao, Hebei Province, which my mother mentions to me every now and then. My father was labeled as a rightist in 1960 and transferred to do manual labor for 17 years in Wangqiao Village, Guantao County, Hebei Province. During that time, he met my mother through someone else and I was born in 1976 in this place which has nothing to do with my parents’ ancestral homes or where they had grown up. After the Cultural Revolution my father was rehabilitated and returned to work in Beijing. And I began to commute between Hangzhou and Beijing with my mother. Subsequently, I have been living with my elder brother and my mother in Hangzhou since the separation of my parents. And I had not gone back to my birthplace, Guantao, for a very long time. However, Guantao seemed to have melted into my blood while I was growing and maturing. The desire to visit my birthplace had always been there. In 2015, when I was reading writer Mo Yan’s works, I was struck by his description of his hometown, his blood land. He says, your hometown does not only mean the places that your parents belong to, but the place where your mother bled giving birth to you and where your placenta was buried… So with the opportunity that the government of Guantao County established my father’s art museum, I finally started a journey returning to my birthplace, reuniting with the land that I had departed from nearly forty years ago. I still vaguely remember the nervousness I felt getting closer to my hometown when the train reached Handan City. In the photographs I later took, the complicated emotions of wanting to be closer but with anxiety and uneasiness had each been displayed and expressed. Those partial and incomplete images, with some sense of alienation, represented my incomplete memories of my birthplace. Hui—, tracing back to the place where my heart settles down, the theme of my photo exhibition— is my homeland’s calling to me. More importantly, it is my seeking of the time when my family was still complete and an exploration of my self-identity. Thanks to this kind of back-tracing, a lot of my emotional entanglement with my original family had been, little by little, melting and fading away.”