performance artist has left many more than a bit creeped out with his “father and son” photo shoot marking Tomb Sweeping Day.
Traditionally, Tomb Sweeping Day or Qingming Festival is a time for people to pay respect to their ancestors by tidying up their graves. However, a Beijing-based artist named Siyuan Zhuyu did more than that on Friday, exhuming his dad’s bones and placing them down on a blanket before lying down naked beside them and posing for some photos.
He later posted the images onto Weibo under the title: “My Father and I.”
In a video documenting the photo shoot, Siyuan revealed that his father had passed away 30 years ago from liver cancer when he was only 27 and Siyuan was just three. Because he died at such an early age, Siyuan said that he had no real memories of his father, only a family photo and stories told to him by relatives.
Siyuan explained that each year he would travel back to his hometown for Tomb Sweeping Day and that over time his father’s grave had become very weathered. Therefore, he decided to transfer the remains to a new grave and use the opportunity to become closer with his dead father and contemplate the meaning of life.
He said that he was deeply touched by the experience, writing: “I am lying with my father, life and death, flesh and bone, father and son. As the sun shines on me and my father, I feel wonderful feelings that I have never felt before.”
The photo shoot provoked predictably mixed reviews. Some accused Siyuan of being deliberately shocking to gain attention for himself while shaming his own father. Others found it a moving experience and a way to connect with loved ones lost.
However, Weibo itself evidently did not appreciate the project, deleting Siyuan’s account.