I Still Care
The experience of living in China in the 1990s impelled me to reflect on the domestic space and my identity as an Asian female through an investigative studio process. My inclination tends towards an exploration of the self and culture through narration. ‘I still care' was a family portrait painting that I did on the first year of my master's degree. It is autobiographical recalling childhood memories from an adulthood perspective. It considers how family members affect one another and the way memory is stored and distorted. In this painting, the girl in the middle is a self-portrait aged 4, I have a fixed gaze, straight at the audience. Underneath her, there is an innocent infant embraced by my parents who wear ghost-like face masks. By tampering with old family photos, I manipulated the original appearance of the photographed subjects into an ambiguous grimace. This work reshapes the memories through the painting of old family photographs to express some inexplicable, intimate feelings and thoughts. Disordered and uncertain emotions confuse my memory, pushing me to explore the shadows and back alleys of my past to a background of domesticity. For me, the subjective childhood memory has primacy, it defines and shapes who we are. Photographs are evidence of the past, but can prove to be unreliable witnesses due to their failure to capture the whole truth; I highlight the unreliability of photographs in my painting. The result is an artwork that reveals something that is closer to the masked truth.
"I still care" 2018
Acrylic and oil on canvas
I still care" is a piece that I created in 2018. Now, that I look-back reassess this painting. It feels like back then I was across an intersection in which everything is so nebulous. I want to remind myself how far had I gone here.