Final year project
'A journey to China' [Read more]
Traditional 11th Century Chinese designs are painted on Western mannequin hands and crosses the cultural bridge between both traditions. The figures are found from Chinese flea markets (Trip to Hong Kong – my parents’ birthplace) and painted with gold lacquer. Implicitly translates Chinese ways of living and thinking through the use of Buddha figures found in many Chinese households. I also Incorporated the Japanese Kintsugi technique to highlight brokenness and flaws, a symbol of my metaphorical journey.
'Give me a hand'
Traditional Chinese floral designs found on childhood Qipao, worn during Lunar New Year and festivals, is painted on western mannequin hands. The green succulent plants represent Chinese Feng Shui and modernises traditional Chinese iconography onto a contemporary canvas.
Two faces symbolising both Northern Irish and Chinese identities. The dual faced head is almost alien-like, this symbolises my feelings of separation and alienation because of the way I look, act and behave.
The peony is a symbol of purity because it rises out of the mud to bloom, a physical manifestation of my ascension from feeling outcast and displaced.
This piece mimics broken/shattered plates. The contrasting patterns pieced together mirrors notions of displacement of my identity, with a sense of being in-between. It successfully illustrates cultural collisions I have endured and symbolises my own struggles and experiences.
The melting pot of cultural collisions combats stereotypical attitudes that suggests I only belong to one homogeneous group. The cracks and flaws are highlighted with gold lacquer and demonstrates a metaphorical journey of resilience and strength through healing. The raw edges further highlights brokenness – unfinished story/journey.
'Beauty in the broken'
I used resin and green inks to replicate jade stone, the layering of resin gave an interesting translucent quality that mimicked natural stone. I used clay and lacquer to replicate gold morphed figures, allowing the viewer to question and think what they are/represent. I also incorporated the East Asian Kintsugi technique which embraces the flaws and experimental calamities from plaster casting process (Fragile fingers broke easily). Each ceramic piece possesses a unique and visually expressive story of resilience.
Explore the coexisting relationship between Western and East Asian aesthetics, through eating and drinking utensils. Decorative plates are used in both cultures and the designs relate to cultural traditions, visual habits, ways of thinking, experiences and living.
I reinvented modern coke cans by translating traditional Chinese Gaiwan tea cup designs onto a contemporary coke can.
The crumpled aesthetic represent its journey and how it has been used, symbolising my personal story and struggles as a minority.
These pieces depicts the culturally recognised tea ceremony/traditions within both lineages. Universal teapot symbolises how both cultures can coexist in harmony – combining Western and Eastern cultures and narratives.
Condiment containers with raised inscriptions visually illustrates its Western roots, however, it is not immediately noticeable. Similar to how my Northern Irish culture is not instantly recognised through my outward appearance.
'A journey to China’ is an exploration of my rich bicultural heritage, shaped by my Northern Irish and Chinese experiences. I delved into my cross-cultural background and visually communicated my intentions in a contemporary context by using calligraphy, traditional Chinese forms and iconography.
I explored childhood nostalgia through patterns and colour, by manipulating traditional East Asian imagery and interpreting Chinese aesthetics into the Western tradition. The exploration of cuisine and common domestic kitchenware imbue symbolic questions of identity, because they represent a language of home and creates a sense of belonging.
The use of bodies in my work is more concerned with the body as fragments, rather than the body as a whole. The dismemberment mirrors my feelings of alienation, but also separation from my peers and family members because I feel like an impostor, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian. I challenge notions of self-acceptance, displacement and what it means to be trans-cultural.
Final year project
'A journey to China'
'20 Welcome Matt Exhibition - Loughborough University
'19 Landed Exhibition - Loughborough University
'18 Open Night Art Exhibition - Fivemiletown College
'17 True Colours CCEA Exhibition - Ulster Museum Belfast
September '16 – July '17 Fivemiletown Primary school work experience
Role: classroom assistant working alongside young children between the ages of 5 and 12. My ability to multitask and make decisions under pressure was challenged when working in a chaotic setting.
April '17 Fivemiletown Nursery school work experience
Role: Classroom assistant working with children between the ages of 4 and 5. While working with a younger age group I improved on my listening skills and patience. I encouraged children to verbally communicate with me, allowing them to express their feelings and develop their cognitive learning.
September '16 – July '17 Buddy system at Fivemiletown college
Role: Confidant and helper who interacted with younger pupils between the ages of 12 and 13 on a weekly basis. This improved my communication and interpersonal skills because I interacted with students regularly as a trusted sixth form member. It allowed me to communicate with pupils on a much more personal level, showing my ability to be respectful and confidential with their problems at school.
October '18 - May '20 Loughborough University Peer mentor scheme/E-Peer mentor/International Peer mentor
Role: member of peer support group with members of staff, ensuring the mental and physical health of all first-year students. I was required to communicate individually with students and plan events for interaction and engagement with first years. This improved my team working skills because I was working with a large member of staff in a formal setting.