The wedding rituals in the artist’s hometown Jinjiang, a small city in south-eastern China, are tied to an intense son preference tradition. Since the family would afford a staggering sum to dower a daughter, some of them believe that having a baby girl suggests a large outcome in the future and taking this as ‘an excuse’ for their preference for boys. And there’s a saying prevailed on the network in recent years that ‘marrying a Jinjiang bride is better than robbing a bank’, which always accompanied with photos of brides who wear lots of golden necklaces, bracelets, and rings outside their wedding dresses. The jewellery comes from the bride’s parents and the invited guests to the wedding banquet, and all of the gold would be kept as the brides’ dowry, which actually belongs to their husbands. However, it is hard to tell whether it is a gift from the parents and guests, a suit of armour to protect the girls from poverty, or just chains made of gold to lock them up.
Yishen Chen, as a performance artist who is recently exploring the gender discrimination issue in her hometown, and as a future Jinjiang bride at the same time, would like to invite all the participants at the conference to join her performance, by adding slight pieces of ‘jewellery’ on her in a traditional Jinjiang way. Through this interactive piece of work, Yishen aims to examine the feminist implication of jewellery on the specific figure, Jinjiang bride, and discuss about how gender, rituals and jewellery interact within societies.