Saskia Wesseling

Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Only way is up ....to an Ivy League University
2018
Photography
Photography +manually added Chinese school stamps
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography +manually added Chinese school stamps

As a Dutch artist who is living in Hong Kong and lived in China, I am an insider and outsider.

I am a mom of two daughters. And whether I like it or not, I am part of the famous – or perhaps infamous – Tiger mom scene.

I read about suicide of young children in Hong Kong, but I also read about the amazing results of the Hong Kong (and Chinese) children compared to children in the rest of the world. Where Northern European children once led the world in academic results, Asia has now taken over.

What is wrong and what is right?

I know what collective helplessness feels like. If you let your child do things differently, there is a risk that they will not be accepted in schools. Schools can choose, and they choose the children with the highest scores. It’s as simple as that. So how can you step out of the system – a structure that is often referred to as a pressure cooker – without hurting your child’s future?

We have an obligation to this generation of schoolchildren to evaluate what is right. Statistics are worrying. Schoolchildren of some primary schools in Hong Kong are given less outdoor time for exercise then prisoners. Fifty per cent of secondary school children show signs of depression.

Will times change? The Chinese government has shared its worries about academic pressure on young children this summer. As a result, in Hangzhou, primary pupils were instructed by the school to stop homework at 9pm. But should a 6 year old do homework until 9pm at all? Shouldn’t they be in bed, or listening to bedtime stories, or sharing their experiences of the day with their parents?

Children are losing their individuality. They become anonymous; the only thing to be seen is their results. They are not going to school to learn; they go to school to pass tests with the highest scores.

My work shares a feeling of collective helplessness, as no child or family can step out on their own. Let’s all think and rethink why we send our children to school; to be ready for the world they live in, or to be accepted to an Ivy league University?

The multimedia creation Time to tame the tigers contains photography, an installation and a video. On some of the photography I manually added teacher stamps – stamps used in class to comment on homework.

 

Introduction of the Artist

In my home country, Holland, I worked as a news journalist and then later, in my early thirties, I made radio documentaries. I felt totally at home in my life and in my chosen genre. I thrived on telling stories for my work.

Being comfortable is nice, but it didn’t feed my creative inquisitiveness. So I made the unsettling decision to leave Holland. With my family, I travelled widely and challenged myself creatively in unfamiliar surroundings.

From a structured start in Zurich to cultural adventures in Cairo, from the crazy cosmopolitan city  of Guangzhou to the wild city of Hong Kong, constant change generated a need to find beauty in chaos.

As I grappled with new ways of living, words could no longer effectively convey my experience. Instead, I turned to photography, as I had done throughout my life: as a student I had won a photography award, sponsored by the Stedelijk Museum and the Parool newspaper, for a picture series about Amsterdam. My latest work is a multimedia piece – combining my experience as documentary radiojournalist with my photography to tell the story: Time to tame the tigers.

 

November 2018              Shenzen Annual Image festival – Time to tame the tigers – multimedia work created as part of the Magnum multimedia mentorship program.

October 2018                 Hong Kong International Photo Festival exhibition Silence of the Sky

September 2018             Fine Art Asia exhibition – Hong Kong

June 2018                      Publication in Field & Stations – a magazine about travel & places

May 2018                      Finalist Photography discovery prize Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong

May 2018                      Groups exhibition Hong Kong ‘ Asia, light, hope and dynamism

April 2018                     Exhibtion and artist talk Hong Kong ‘Unleash the passion of Wong Chuk Hang’

March 2018                   Start of a 6 month Magnum photography multimedia mentorship

December 2017              South China Morning Post – Photo essay – Barbers in backstreets of HK

November 2017              Solo Exhibition Hong Kong: Glamour in unglamorous places

November 2017              National Geographic traveller publication-Yunnan

saskiawesseling.com

Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography
Only way is up ....to an Ivy League University
2018
Photography
Photography +manually added Chinese school stamps
Time to tame the tiger?
2018
Photography +manually added Chinese school stamps