More than ten years ago a young Chinese mother came to Italy, in search for work. She had traveled to Italy, far from her family with whom she left her first born daughter in their small birth town in the greater Shanghai area.
She came to live in a rural city surrounded by rice- fields near Milan with her second, Italian born, daughter. When I got to know the small family of just two members, Wen Jing was three years old. I had the privilege to photograph them often. Much later, Wen Jing got a little sister that brought some consternation in their immediate surroundings and in the people on whom Hong Xia, the mother depended for work, housing and social securities.
I had not seen Wen Jing happier than with this amazing gift she and her mother named Martina. Maybe because I’m a stranger as well in this little village, Hong Xia’s endeavor to belong and the struggle with different cultural habits, too easily dismissed or devalued by social workers who think it’s for the better of all involved to divide a family, has touched me deeply. Looking back on the pictures from these years I can see their sorrows, an uneasiness especially before and during Hong Xia’s last pregnancy. But the latest pictures here show their happiness as a family against all odds. The love of a mother and the joy of two sisters. Little did I know that this joy was peace before the storm…. I do hope these series create some awareness of their plight and might help to restore a fragile peace.. [Official Website]