TREES is a project of inquiry about self-growth. At a very young age, I was a person who liked to scribble everywhere and used to express my expectations and fantasies about everything in this way. Adults were often eager to discuss their world, addressing children through phrases like “you should do this”, “you should do that”, or “that’s all you need to know”.

As I grew up, when I stopped taking their words as the only way of knowing, when I started exploring the world on my own, I realised that the world was much more complicated than I thought. There was a lot that was interesting and a lot that I found uninteresting. The world puts too many rules and regulations on everyone, what boys should do, what girls should do. But the world is not black and white, there is no absolute right thing, different values and the way of thinking derived from them depends on the angle we look at the world.

I have drawn countless “trees” that fit my idea of what a tree should look like, but I’m grateful that at my age I can still get teary-eyed every time I see a new one.


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Haoqing Xu