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Size:8.5*2.5*5.5 cm
Material: clam shell



What do people think of when I mention pearls? Precious, beautiful, elegant... but at the same time, their formation is built upon pain. The natural process of pearl formation occurs when a foreign object such as a grain of sand or a parasite falls into the opening of a clam's shell. When the mantle tissue is irritated, it secretes nacre to coat the foreign object layer by layer, gradually forming a pearl. These pearls have a nucleus.Another case involves the detachment of a part of the mantle tissue of a clam's epidermal cells due to disease or injury, which enters the connective tissue, divides and proliferates to form a pearl sac, thus forming a pearl without a nucleus. Regardless of the formation process, both types of pearls are a way for clams to protect themselves, and the process is very painful.

The pearl industry uses the principle of nucleated pearls, artificially cutting the thin membrane of clams in their infancy and implanting multiple nuclei to simulate the process of sand entering the clams. After receiving this sudden stimulus, the clam will produce a large amount of nacre to wrap the foreign object and reduce the pain. Sometimes, some clams cannot bear this stimulus and die. The remaining clams are hung on a net to continue producing pearls until the time is right for humans to kill them and take out the pearls. The larger and higher quality the pearls are, the longer the process takes, so a clam's entire life is spent in long periods of pain until they die.Ironically, when I searched for videos related to the pearl industry online, the factories in the videos were highly standardized and had a peaceful atmosphere. Coupled with elegant music and gentle narration, the final focus was on beautiful pearl products. All of this made people ignore the cruelty behind it and made them feel that it was worth it to obtain pearls. Although pearls are precious gems that are valuable and beautiful to humans, perhaps they are a disease for clams, like tumors or stones for humans. Pearls are beautiful, but this industry is built upon the life and pain of clams. Do we really need to sacrifice so many lives for beauty? Pearls are a rare and accidental beauty in nature, and maybe they can just stay that way.

I collected some clam shells that have already had their pearls taken, and I found that their shape was like withered flower petals. So, I carved beautiful pearls into insects attached to the shells and simulated the marks of insect bites. Through this visual contrast, I want to show a silent pain and sorrow.