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Woman’s junk becomes son’s art

If she had lived in this country, she may have been the subject of an episode of Hoarders — but instead, Zhao Xiang Yuan’s monumental collection of possessions is the subject of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s newest exhibit.

If she had lived in this country, she may have been the subject of an episode of Hoarders — but instead, Zhao Xiang Yuan’s monumental collection of possessions is the subject of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s newest exhibit.

Waste Not, which opens on Saturday, displays 10,000 everyday items collected over a lifetime by one Chinese woman.

The clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toiletries and shopping bags —among other things — were gathered and organized by Yuan and her son Song Dong, one of China’s most renowned contemporary artists.

“Before the (exhibit) she didn’t know how much stuff she had,” Song said.

“She (saw it laid out and) said, ‘This is too much stuff.’”

Song said it was the Chinese virtue of frugality started his mother’s accumulation of goods, which was compounded when his father died and she fell into a deep depression.

“I wanted to show her life and give her a goal,” he said.

“My mother said this (project) gave her a second life.”

 
 
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