I Have Been There is an ongoing performance in which I make a duvet every time I travel to a place. Covered by the duvet, I lie still on the ground of historical sites, landmarks, and tourist attractions as a sign of negotiating and/or engaging with cultures and spaces. This work is inspired by a funeral tradition in my hometown in China. When an elder person dies, daughters of this person make duvets with silk fabrics, called shrouds, to cover their dead parent’s body. For me, as a person living abroad without family, the question of who will bury me after I die sometimes bothers me. Therefore, I make my own shrouds and bury myself wherever I go, celebrating my death—in other words, my existence—publicly and repeatedly.
Chun Hua Catherine Dong is a Chinese-born Montréal-based artist working with performance, photography, and video. Working within the gap between body as image and body as experienced reality, Dong uses the body—often her own body—as a visual territory and a primary material in her work to activate social commentary on gender, race, and immigration. By encapsulating these global issues in microcosm or magnifying personal predicaments until they become universally visible, she presents the body as an embodiment of dynamic human relations, locating herself at the nexus of author, artwork, and audience.
Dong received a BFA from Emily Carr University Art & Design and an MFA from Concordia University. She has performed and exhibited her works in multiple international festivals and venues, including Québec City Biennial, Kaunas Biennial, the Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (Paris), Dong Gang Museum of Photography (South Korea), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn), Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival (Chicago), and 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art (Toronto). She received the Franklin Furnace Award for contemporary avant-garde art in New York (2014), and was named among the “10 Artists Who Are Reinventing History” by Canadian Art (2017), and “Top Nine Political Art Projects of 2010” by Art and Threat magazine.