Chyna-Lily

“This is a tea set my mum gave me when I was little. It’s really tiny, but it was the only thing she gave me that reminded me of my Chinese heritage. Obviously it’s so small that it's kind of unusable. I remember her not letting me ever play with it even though it sat in my room for so long. I decided to play with it one day when I was really young, there used to be a little plate (included in the set) and I broke it unfortunately! I was so scared and embarrassed that I broke the plate, so I hid it in a plant.

I didn’t tell her for the longest time. I think it’s really beautiful. I talk a lot about food and culture in my work as an artist. In many cultures, but specifically Chinese culture, you come together and that’s when you reconnect with family and learn about your history. This is the most sentimental thing I own. I chose to bring this as my personal taonga and I’ve even included it in a shoot for a photo book about Asian representation, which will be released early this year.” - Chyna-Lily, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) | Find her: clartspace.tumblr.com. (Interview: Chloe Mason)