My Mom And Her Walker is a tribute to my mother, wanting to show her all my love. From the moment I found myself in her womb, I thought I experienced her pain and sorrow. Evidently, she was starving, and she fell from a long flight of stairs when I was almost due. Fortunately, I was tenacious enough to hang on tightly, and I was born healthy. My gratitude for my mother for giving me life is immense; she has kept me safe from a relatively hostile and poor environment. As a young girl, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, my mother’s family escaped to Hong Kong. Adapting quickly to a new environment without having any education, my mother supported her parents and siblings till she got married. After that, she had to toil with her frustrated and seemingly always angry husband, working in their humble family restaurant while trying to nurture and raise their four children, two girls and two boys. In 1975, she decided to immigrate to Canada because she wanted a better life for her children. Having done enough for her family, now that my mother is entering her wintery stage, and everyday she is relying on her trusty walker to take her to Chinatown and other familiar places.
Since I was eight, I often sketched my mother, watching every move she made, and worrying if she would give me away because I was a second daughter. Both my parents desperately wanted a boy after the first born was a girl. Sometimes, I had a great deal of empathy when she self-medicated with “certain substances”. Other times, I could not understand her at all, when she pretended nothing had happened after having a fight with my father. A complex and a sweet mother of four, I was interested in her with absolute fascination. Therefore, this painting My Mom And Her Walker depicts a scene in Chinatown of Toronto (Canada) where she loves to go daily with my father, as though it is still a memory of old times. Many signs in the painting are sublime, showing mixed languages between Chinese and English, as well as some traffic signs, symbolizing that this place of the past is not sustainable. Her life story is being illustrated in the background with poverty, family drama, drunkenness, madness, and slumber. From the far left to the far right, there is light gradually getting obscure and ambiguous. And then my sweet mother appears in the centre of the painting, walking away from the background, towards the viewers with her walker, which is carrying a bag of vegetables in the basket. Her incredible smile is seemingly erasing all her pain from the past. The representation of this painting witnesses my mother’s life that has been a Chinese diaspora, from an unsettling and political upheaval in China to one of the world’s most prosperous country – Canada. Could it be that the last task for my mother now is to move forward with courage and contentment? The subtlety of “LOVE U MOM” that is written on a taxi licence plate is meant to convey my deepest love and respect for her, since it is not a Chinese custom to show affection between a mother and a daughter.