Chinese Stone Seal

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

"Guo" or 国 is the Chinese character for country. In a different iteration, "Guo" or 郭 is my family name on my mother's side. This stone seal, or stamp, is used by my mother, an artist, to sign her paintings. 

The tradition of red seals is an ancient Chinese practice, that my mother, a migrant and transnational artist who combines Western and Eastern painting aesthetics continues to incorporate into her work. The seal is materially valuable, the product of rare material and skilled craft labor, but through its reiterative use, it has become an object does more than finalize a painting, its economic use-value. I think of the seal as an object of migration, not just because it literally has migrated with my mom from rural to urban China, and then to the United States, but because its use is a reiterative practice which connects me to an ancient tradition. As a family, we join together to manage my mom’s artwork, and so we tend to be present when she puts the final stamp on her paintings. Thus, it becomes a fulcrum wherein we join Western and Eastern within our family by doing so with her art. The seal contains country and family, and signifies those enduring bonds through its small, portable nature which only cultivates meaning through reiterative sign-making, establishing cultural memory.

Year: 1990

– Tian Weinberg

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant