I am excited by the idea of using my life experience as a Chinese emigrant and a dreamer in art to combine my specialist subjects of fine art and photography to create sculptures in clay to depict different aspects of my own identity. Beyond boundaries of country and race, I invite the viewer to consider differences and similarities of body, identity and character through perspectives of culture, nature and anthropology.
Contextual research is fundamental to my practice. Here it is based on the Chinese Neolithic Period culture and the basic shape of the tripod vessel, and the Song dynasty porcelain Ru Ware and kiln azure colour glazing on the surface. I have chosen oracle (inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells) characters sgraffito on the body of the sculpture as this is the oldest systematic recording method; pictograms of the ancient Chinese living in nature. The characters representing the composition of nature, the three elements: heaven, earth and human being; the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth; and the eight elements: heaven, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain and lake.
I have used images of my triadic Identity: my Chinese heritage, England as my new adopted country and me as an artist, in my self-portrait cyanotype photographs which have been digitally transferred on to the glazed pottery. They depict the different aspects of myself and who I am, where I am from; my past, present and future – my cultural dimension.
I also researched contemporary artists who inspired my project. Cindy Sherman uses role play photography to explore the construction of contemporary identity. Grayson Perry used clay made the glazed vase depicts the aspect of his life which he had identified.
The processes of technical experimentation, evaluation and reflection are important and guide me to achieve my final result. They led me from my initial aims of creating one large tripod-vessel with three bag-legs incorporating the characters and photographs, to two vessels; one to hold the characters and another for the photographs.