Our second exhibition, Nostalgia, is open to public toady. After two weeks of decoration, we finally finished arranging everything. I really appreciate the effort of Ningbo Cultural Plaza for helping us. They provided the site for the exhibition, the T-shaped shelves, and a lot of designing ideas.
My dad and I, as photographer and curator, made a short speech during the opening ceremony. The television crews also interviewed a dozen of people there.
Now, I feel that I have to share this story from our exhibition.
This old lady has seven children, including four sons and three daughters. Her eldest son decided that the responsibility of caring for their mother would be divided between him and the second brother every other month. The other two sons could not take care of their mother due to health problems. The eldest son left home for a plantation in Zhousudu, Ningbo, which is part of urban Ningbo now, at his early age. Since then, he got married and had children there. Now, he is 74 years old. On the first days of odd months when he takes care of his mother, he sets out from urban Ningbo, takes three buses for total after three and half hours, and stays there until the end of that month. The second son is 70 years old this year, living in Shanghai. He has to come all the way from Shanghai every even month. Due to the limited housing condition, the sons renewed the sty and live there.
There are only nine people in this village. He does not have anyone to talk to, nor does he have a television to kill some time. According to himself, spending time in the village is the same as going to jail, since his mother is also deaf. The old lady is not willing to move to urban Ningbo with him because she wants to be buried in a traditional way. However, people who died in big cities are required to be cremated by their family members.
*Filial Piety: a Confucius idea meaning a virtue of respect for one’s parents
More importantly, the couple, on the set Filial Piety, came to our opening ceremony today and said a few words. We were all so glad that they were there. When I first saw them this morning, I was so moved because I have only seen them on the photo before. The story is heart-warming, but the fact that this couple saw caring for their mother as an necessary responsibility really moved many people this morning. When we saw them on the photo, we feel that such nice people were far away from us; however, when we talked to them face-to-face this morning, we can feel that they are so close to us.