1500 scissors, hanging by threads, dangle above a woman’s head, and all the woman does is mend cloth. You could easily kill someone with one of those scissors, but the woman cares not. Instead, she continues on with her activity.
Beili Liu, the woman beneath the scissors and the artist behind this exhibit, calls her project The Mending Project. Juxtaposing the scissors against herself and the cloth, Liu strikes fear in her audience, but she also manages to calm them. The atmosphere is one of both danger and innocence—a balance.
This installation at the Women and Their Work Gallery of Austin, TX engaged its visitors in spring 2011, inviting them to cut cloth to offer to Liu. In this way, visitors became a part of The Mending Project, walking under the sky of scissors to Liu’s table.
Liu told My Modern Metropolis that having grown up in China affected her project. “There is a warm familiarity about them,” Liu said about the scissors. “I am interested in harnessing the threatening essence of these … scissors,” she explained. “They are not ‘polite’ like the ones we are use to [in North America]. You can use them to cut or stab.”
But what Liu’s project also reminded me of was women who defy convention; women who create their own rules and blaze their own trails; women who are not afraid of achieving their dreams in spite of the sexism that still exists, particularly in the business and science worlds. Women who ignore the razor sharp scissors in life and do what they enjoy.
Brandon Woo is a happy high school student in Vancouver, BC. In working with Schema, he hopes to educate others about current events and learn more about the world around him too.