Suzy Chan’s kitsch and sparkly project explores the children who grow up in China’s factories

Suzy Chan's kitsch and sparkly project explores the children who grow up in China's factories

Having recently graduated from London College of Communication and returned to China, Suzy was seeking out a project that interacted with her “familiarity” with China. But she had found herself somewhat stumped. However, after soon striking up a companionship with Xinxin and Yu, she realized how mutually beneficial a project with them could be. “As children going up in factories, they always lacked companionship,” Suzy explains. “Their parents always gave them iPads and then went to work. But they love painting, and the walls of the factory are full of their drawings.” Seeing their penchant for creativity, Suzy began bringing her art supplies to the factory and creating with them, with pens, paints and textiles. Now, their work is incorporated throughout the project, alongside digital elements, creating a playful and wonderfully hectic selection of collages.

Visual inspiration for the project came from Suzy, Xinxin and Yu’s immediate surroundings. Factory billboards, temporary advertisements and business cards are all littered around the factory, full of mis-mash visuals and “excessive information”. The area is also full of One Yuan stores – similar to Poundland shops in the UK – brimming with “kitsch” products, and being the place where Xinxin and Yu’s school bags and pencil cases were purchased from. It was the maximalist aesthetics of kitsch that Suzy sought to emulate, a visual style “determined by the complex economic and cultural history behind it”. The resulting effect – with glowing word art, sparkles in abundance and clip-art sticker aesthetic – is one dripping in nostalgia.

Venturing into what she hopes people will take away from the project, Suzy aims for it to “remove prejudice or simple moral critique”, instead forming “diverse understandings”. But, Suzy outlines that what’s most important to her is what Xinxin and Yu have gotten out of the project. “In fact, we were on a video call last week, and they showed me new paintings. It seems that creation has really become a habit of expression in their lives,” Suzy reflects. “It made me realize that this is a ‘project’ that will never end. Our relationship will always go on and change as they grow and I grow. For me, the most important thing is that they can always believe in their talents.”

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