10 x 10 inches, Digital Photography, 2017

This is a project concerning Asian culture and feminism called, Feminine. This work addresses the constraint and limitation placed on women in Chinese and Taiwanese and the inescapable grip of social expectations and traditions. After photographing the digital images in the studio, I extend the work to appear as a traditional Chinese belle painting which depicts the beauty of women by issuing muted color, delicate brushwork, and elegant composition. In Chinese tradition, a stereotype of an ideal woman is that of a dependent being governed by males and the “three obedience and four virtues” as outlined in the book called Lessons for Women. The education for women meant inculcating these rules. In my work, I have hand-drawn the calligraphy from the Lessons for Women into the body of Chinese belle paintings and had it photographed, digitally combined and enhanced to form a meticulously structured tableau. Since almost all ancient belle paintings were created by male painters, my work will serve as a metaphorical representation of yearning for idealized womanhood and reflection of social constraints and their ugly and cruel side as the words engraved on the body.

© 2020 by I-Lun Huang.