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Publication Date

Winter 1-1-2016


artists' books, student artists' book contest, third


Book and Paper

Student Status

Undergraduate student

Year of Graduation



Graphic Design

Faculty / Course

Judy Maloney, Design Foundations

Materials + Techniques

Vinyl, Card Stock Paper, Print

Student Narrative

For this piece, I recommend to experience it without any input of the designer first. If you are not familiar with any of the history of the Cultural Revolution in China, please continue reading the text below. However, I do still highly suggest that you take your time investigate it without any prior knowledge. Discussions and theories that occur when trying to understand the piece with others is what I have personally found more intriguing. Nevertheless, this is just my opinion. There is also an information card inside. If you would like, you can take the challenge to not read it. I hope that you will find as much joy and curiosity as I have with those I have shared Illusion with too. Thank you. In 1966, Mao Zedong announced the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China. He believed that China was falling back to its capitalist ideas and wanted to purge the country from any of these thoughts. Mao wanted to bring the people together and allow everyone to live in a country where there was equal status. He declared that it was necessary for China to be cleansed of the four olds: culture, customs, habits, and ideas. Any who follow the crowd and denounced the olds were praised and those who did not were considered traitors to the nation. Intellectuals, landlords, and citizens of the bourgeoisie class were publicly humiliated. Relics in temples and museums were destroyed. Mao believed that the young adults of the country would change China and by following the demands of ridding the old, they were considered the ‘golden children’. These ‘golden children’ sought to became Red Guards who went to fulfill Mao’s wishes. They wore a red band and a simple military uniform that once belonged to their family who participated in the Chinese Civil War. Extravagant hairstyles were considered bourgeoisie and cropped short hair for men and short or tied pigtails for women were what became the standard. This look became the typical style for all during this time in China. Doing something for one’s own benefit was never considered because it was naturally believed that you and everyone else are the same. No one stood out because of the idea that they were all born to work together and show the world the power of their country. Nevertheless, there is an extent to how much human nature can be molded. Mao was easily able to bring the peoples’ pride, determination, and bravery out to the surface. However, those who suppressed their opinions due to his demands either felt helpless or had a need to find an outlet. The revolution brought in a wave of different human emotions and interactions that brought people together and also tore them apart. Until his death, Mao had always stood strongly in his people’s heart as the one that supported them through their hard times. He was a leader that appeared to be of equal status with them and understood their struggles and pain of poverty. Mao made sure that the most educated citizens knew that he would forever be the one who uplifted their life, minds, and hearts.




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