“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if I had been gifted with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” – Yehuda Bauer
Puyi Forbidden City China
The Forbidden City
When you are Traveling to Beijing there are certain places that are unavoidable and one of these places is the Forbidden City. Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong in Chinese, was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex.
Standing outside these massive red stone walls and gates with the hundreds of tourist you just know that something very special awaits you inside. Knowing a little about the history, the Forbidden City was the seat of the Chinese Emperor and no one was allowed to enter or leave without his consent. Fast forward 500 years later and china has finally opened this amazing palace to the world, it has been open to the public now for 30 years, so you feel a sense of privilege.
When I passed through the gates it took my breath away, there is such a sense of time and history it’s like you’re inside a beautiful work of art. My eyes found it difficult to adjust to such beauty, everything was highly decorated every corner and doorway revealed something special. Since yellow is the symbol of the royal family, it is the dominant colour in the Forbidden City. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles; decorations in the palace are painted yellow; even the bricks on the ground are yellow.
The day I travelled to the Palace there were so many tourists, all trying to capture this beauty with their cameras, people pushing and shoving to get the perfect shot. In some of the chambers if you stood still for to long you were moved by the crowd. There are a staggering 9,999 rooms within the palace ground and I tried my hardest to get into as many as possible, I spent 5 hours walking from room to room in some way trying to see or find something that had not yet been uncovered.
This is an ongoing exploration of the subject of people and life. The buildings as with time fade till they disappear, the decay becoming its beauty. This fascination with decay and the passing of time stems from the questions that have arisen within me about my own maturity and mortality. The project is based around buildings that retain traces of energy, time and people that have passed. I have taken the subjects from their original history and placed them in a new environment in which they never existed, to evoke fictitious stories and to create new memories.