Bingrui Zhuang is a jewellery artist and experimental artist from China. She received a BA in Experimental Arts at the Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts and won scholarships every year. Currently, Bingrui is studying in the MA programme in Jewellery & Metal at the Royal College of Art in London. Her personal experience is the source of inspiration for her work. As Bingrui was a ‘left-behind child’ when she was young, she hopes to appeal to society to provide more support and care for left-behind children. Bingrui has studied Chinese left-behind children for three years, reaching out to this group and focusing on their mental health and lack of emotional support. Bingrui enjoys delving into the narratives of metal and mixed media, and she employs unique technical structures to combine various mixed media in her work. She is also skilled at expressing issues relating to children’s mental health within the family and society through video, narrative jewellery, and interactive installations, while showing her critical thinking on the phenomenon.
My project started with an autobiographical exploration of myself. China was undergoing a period of rapid economic growth in the 1990s, during which a special group appeared – many children were left behind at home and experienced long-term separation from their parents at an early age (and I was one of them).
My Experience as a Left-behind Child:
I lived in a teacher’s house and received paid-for residential care when I was young. Living in a closed and unfamiliar environment, I created a comfortable atmosphere for myself by playing with familiar building blocks and recalling my experience of living with my parents in my early days.
Research on Left-behind Children in China：
“What would your dream scenario be if the village becomes rich and your parents returned home and worked locally?” With this theme, I provided a public art class for left-behind children, and the children drew their dream country on a4 sized pieces of paper.
According to John Bowlby's attachment theory, the attachment figure is often the mother, father, or another primary caregiver. When the attachment figure is absent, insecurity arises in infants, and their human instinct pushes them to seek out familiar objects to make themselves feel safe and peaceful.
‘I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space’, Shakespeare’s Hamlet says. His words create a good depiction of the situation of left-behind children.
For the left-behind children, finity means physical and material existence, and infinity means creation, imagination, and the spiritual world. Combining these children’s drawings, I reused my ‘language’ to paint news and then transformed it into graphic blocks with a mortise and tenon structure so it could be put together in infinite ways. Thus, I tried to find infinite possibilities in the language of materials and to break the conventional boundaries of traditional jewellery, bringing infinite imagination to people.