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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

World Cultures ➔ Shoes

A pair of handmade shoes made in China.

These shoes are part of the “Walking in Love” project, created by the donor, Ms. Xiaoxing (Adele) Han.  This interactive art project is aimed at sharing a concept: When art becomes a unique format to express love, it is beautiful. This priceless beauty entered Ms. Han's life through her grandmother, and she hopes to point people toward the handiwork of love in their own lives.

Ms. Han's grandma, Xixiu Zhao, is 87 years old. She has experienced all the tumult of the previous century, from the front lines of the Pacific theater in World War II, to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, up until the nation’s ascendance to the global stage today. Throughout hardship and comfort, chaos and peace, she continued an age-old tradition of making beautiful embroidered shoes. For decades, she never sold them, but made them as gifts for family members and friends, so they would have comfortable shoes to wear in both summer and winter.

Although she has been away from home for years, attending schools and now working in the U.S., Ms. Han believes that, "no matter where I am, I am walking in love. I always have my grandma’s handmade shoes with me, and they make me brave and confident when I am going through all the challenges and difficulties of life. In everyday life, when I am walking in love, there is no fear."  

Ms. Han's goal is to expand this project beyond her own family and to use social media to invite others to particpate in an interactive documentary called “Artists of Love”. The “artists of love” in people’s families do not need to have refined artistic skills, but instead, may possess all kinds of creative or unique ways to share love to their family members, friends, and even strangers. Through this project she hopes to encourage more people to become “artists of love” themselves, while also reminding people to appreciate and remember what our family and friends have done for us.
Secondhand Cloth, Flour Glue, Paperboard, Cotton, Silk
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift of Xiaoxing Han
Xiaoxing (Adele) Han
Ms. Xiaoxing (Adele) Han is a Chinese videographer and photographer living and working in Lansing, Michigan.  Her work can be viewed online at

Xixiu Zhao
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Grand Rapids
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