Chinese Artist Takes A Cabbage For A Walk Round Manchester

By Rebecca Duncan | 11 April 2008
A photograph of people walking cabbages and protesting about war

Han Bing, Walking the Cabbage (detail). Performative Intervention Project (2000-2008) . © the artist

This Saturday, April 12, one hundred people will be walking cabbages round Manchester to highlight the plight of the marginalised.

The group of volunteers will be lead by Chinese artist Han Bing, who will set out at 11am from Cornerhouse and finish back there two hours later.

Walkers will also wear or bring something in the walk that expresses a sense of who they are or who they would like to be in order to celebrate freedom of expression.

Han Bing is best known for his ongoing series Walking The Cabbage, which over the last eight years has seen him walk the cabbage in many different public spaces and social settings.

A photograph of a man with some cabbages and chickens

Han Bing, Walking the Cabbage (detail). Performative Intervention Project (2000-2008). © the artist

He uses the cabbage to symbolise the poor, as it is part of the staple diet of urban Chinese. He is also referencing the idea of walking a cabbage on a lead in the place of a dog, which has become a symbol of the emerging class of new rich in his native China. The cabbage questions what is valuable or worthless in Chinese society.

Reactions to Walking The Cabbage vary from outbursts that “freedom lives” to concerns about wasting food and animal rights. Some people even bark or pet the cabbages.

The walk is part of the UK’s first Asian Art Triennial, which continues until June 1 2008 and takes place throughout Manchester.

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