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Pearl’s Daughters

A Graphic Novel about the female workers in Pearl Delta during 1980s and 1990s

Pearl’s Daughters is a publication that follows the lives of female labourers who worked and lived in factories, the southern part of China that first opened to the free market in the 1980s-1990s.

This book uses the true narratives of a large number of female labourers to recreate their work and life in the factories, echoing the lives in a period of change and reformation: women left the traditional agricultural lifestyle and became part of the collective economy. These stories are re-edited into one in the form of a literary collage. They gather the key moments of the women's everyday lives, portraying the endeavours and perseverance of their youth to tell a personal narrative of the unnamed in memory of the life of the last generation, our mothers.

‘Yuan’s work is incredibly evocative of the repetitiveness of factory work. Her clever use of a distinctive colour palette combines the complexity of her compositions with a sense of dreariness. Yuan’s work shows the power of illustration in recovering social histories, particularly the lives of women, which might otherwise be lost.’
——Dr. Rosalind McKever, Curator of Paintings and Drawings, V&A Museum

‘The uniformity of Pearl’s Daughters is striking... Chenyue sensitively pays attention to the emotion of the workers, visually describing their aching joints and crooked postures through painstaking details which, in turn, build a larger evocative image of what it would be like to live and work in one of these factories.’
——Jyni Ong, Editor, It’s Nice That


© 2021 Chenyue Yuan