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The Holy Golden Mango


During the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao thanked the Red Guards for helping seize power from the university students by rewarding a basket of mangoes to the soldier as a gift. When the soldier received the mangoes, they treated them like Chairman Mao. Some made the mangoes into specimens to protect the 'Holy Mangoes'; others used wax to protect mangoes and placed them in glass covers at the altar for worship. 


This association is reflected in a poem from the period:


Seeing that golden Mango was like seeing you!


Touching that golden Mango: It was so warm!


Smelling that golden Mango: It was so fragrant!


Standing before that golden Mango was like standing with you! 


To some extent, Mango was the Chairman.

Under the restriction of the freedom of religion, even Chairman Mao didn't have the right to deal with his remains after he died.

One press reported Mao wishing to burn his body after he died, but in the end, Mao's body is still in the Great Hall in Beijing so everyone can see his dead body in China. So, to help Chairman Mao achieve his wish, I transform his body into a Golden Mango with joss paper. After that, I burn the Mango to help our leader to achieve his wish of cremation.

The Holy Golden Mango, Pump House Gallery, London, 2022

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