The unrefined misshapen pearls depict unspeakable traumas through the feminine metaphor of pearls, born of time, nature, and heart. I often find myself grappling with a sort of aphasia when attempting to articulate my trauma, especially those invisible ones attached to my female identity. The weight of these mixed feelings silences my voice, while the language barrier adds an additional layer of complexity as a foreigner. Gradually, I discovered that a pearl has formed out of the silence and endurance in my heart.
I’m from a coastal province called Zhejiang in southern China, where most freshwater pearls come from. After the grafting process, predominantly operated by low-paid female workers, a piece of mantle tissue is implanted into the pearl, forcing it to transform its own body to produce more pearls. These alphabet-shaped pearls are considered imperfections in batches. Seen as flawed and cheap byproducts of pearl cultivation, they have been rearranged and translated into another natural language, beyond the bounds of perfection or imperfection.
Indeed, a pearl language is formed naturally.