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The pyjamas were a material memento of her ambitions and courage as a migrant Chinese woman

- a return to wales


The inspiration for the ‘Object-Stories of British Chinese women’ started from the depths of my wardrobe. In 2012, I returned to Wales after a long spell of living in England. After much relocating, I found a two piece pyjama set amongst my possessions. They had a home spun quality that was distinctive to any high street clothing. The design and fabric seem to belong to another era. As a two piece, the top had buttons and a rounded collar with soft piping while the trousers had a soft elasticated waist. The pattern glowed with a dewy sense of romance as small flowers were scattered in front of a hazy yellow background. Elegantly feminine, the cotton was silky cool to touch. 

Unsure how this pyjama set arrived in my possessions, I asked my mother about their origins. My mother’s response was pragmatic and unlaboured. Showing little sentimental attachment, my mum explained that the pyjama set was purchased in Hong Kong in anticipation of coming to the UK. The pyjamas were brought along with other things like a watch, a handbag and her Chinese wedding dress. After all, the starting of a new life needs to be properly furnished by new things, as she rightly pointed out. 

In my possession, this pyjama set took on a heightened significance. While unexpressed by my mother, it was a material memento of her ambitions and courage as a migrant Chinese woman and to leave her home country for one that was culturally unfamiliar to her.  Also I was struck by the intimacy of the clothing because this was not clothing for social occasions but rather for the domestic realm of resting and sleeping. 

This intimacy loomed large; my mother wore these pyjamas in the way that I once wore her body as a foetus. Now folded before me, they belong to a time that I could never physically be in  or understand. They epitomised the  apprehension and courage involved to migrate somewhere else. With little command of English and having only met my father for two weeks before agreeing to marriage and life in Wales. The mixture of determination and faith is indeterminable. Whilst the pyjamas show a prettiness, they also display the strength for an ambition for a better life against the odds. 

As an artist, my mother’s pyjamas became an inspiration for artworks as I set about experimenting. Alongside this experimentation, a thought lingered in the back of my mind as I wondered about all the variety of things and objects that might be lying in the forgotten nooks and crannies of drawers and wardrobes of other British Chinese women. I realised the journey I embarked upon with my mother’s pyjamas could be shared with other women to discover other objects and stories. The seed was sown and this became a doctoral project at the University of Westminster in 2016. 

Over 30 British Chinese have been a part of the ‘Object-Stories’ project where they have brought things to me and taken part in art workshops. Women across London came forward and welcomed me into their homes and community centres and told me about their worlds and their objects. Their stories emerged with humour and determination as they spoke of a range of life experiences. They showed me an eclectic diversity objects which I could not have anticipated. Getting to know a group of women that I would not otherwise have met was a journey full of surprises.  The pages of this website offer a snapshot into the lives of British Chinese women through their objects and our journeys forged in this country. 


- a return to wales


“英國華裔女性物品的故事”這個項目的靈感最初深藏在我的衣櫃里。2012年, 當我在英格蘭待了很長時間以後回到了威爾士。重新佈置一番以後,我在我的物品裡找到了一個兩件套睡衣。它們的質量比高街上賣的衣服要好很多。衣服的設計和布料都有些年代。上衣有釦子和帶滾邊的圓領子,褲子則是彈性腰帶褲。睡衣的樣式很浪漫,上面點綴著開在田野中的朵朵小花。外觀雅緻有女人味,棉質睡衣摸起來柔軟順滑。



這種親密被凸顯出來:我的母親曾經穿過這套睡衣,和我小時候穿著它一樣。 現在它擺在我面前,展開一段我無法身臨其境或者感同身受的歷史。它象征著一個即將移民的女性內心的不安和勇氣打成的一個個心結。她英語不好,和我父親僅僅認識兩周就同意嫁到英國,在威爾士生活。她的決心和信念已不可知。這套睡衣謙遜而美麗,代表了她面對重重困難,為追求更好生活所展現出的勇氣和志向。



有超過30個英國華裔女性參與了“英國華裔女性物品的故事” 項目。她們將私人物品帶給我,并參與藝術工作坊來探尋她們物品的內部世界。倫敦各地的女性都參與進來,邀請我去他們家中和社區中心傾聽他們的世界和物品。這些故事有的幽默有趣,有的意志堅決。她們談到了各種各樣的生活經歷,展示了行行種種意想不到的物品。通過他們的物品和在英國的軌跡,這個網站的網頁呈現了英國華裔女性生活中的一幕幕。