What if i...
“a totally perfect finite thing is untrue to the transcendental nature of beauty.
And nothing is more precious than a certain sacred weakness,
and tat kind of imperfection through which infinity wounds the finite…¬”
The culture that we live in is undeniably narcissistic, blindly influenced by the mass media. Those who fail to notice the emphasis on superficiality in our world are trapped by societal standards of ‘normality’. According to columnist Susan Davies, ’looking good’’ is no longer exclusive to Gods and Goddesses, but accessible to everyday people. 1 It is now so easy to alter physical appearance, with the comparative affordability of cosmetic surgery and various enhancements, that more and more people pursue physical ‘perfection’ regardless of health. With scientific advancements, it is even possible for parents to choose preferred traits in creating their perfect child.
As with the previous book, The Scene Unfold, I find that parents often work towards the goal of packaging their ‘child product’ according to what the media and society depict as desirable.
By creating extreme scenarios, Dear Grace questions parents’ unattainable expectations of their children that are blindly influenced by society’s superficial disdain for the perceived inadequacies of what is merely ‘normal’, and therefore never good enough.
Dear Grace is about probing viewers to look beyond the surface and question their notions of ‘beauty’ and imperfections.
The basis for ‘Dear Grace’ is my desire to explore my relationship with my mother, to question unattainable expectations parents may have of their children, as well as ideals of beauty in the general public, especially in the Asian context of my society.
To this end, scenarios depicted in the series involve subjects who appear inexpressibly more beautiful than what they are, in order to reveal the beauty in what is generally perceived as ugly/imperfect. Also, I want to acknowledge differences and convey the message of seeking the beauty in perceived ‘ugliness’, in order that society, especially parents, may come to accept their children no matter how physically imperfect they consider them to be.
In these scenarios, I take references from what are deemed as freaks, and incorporate these subjects as fictional characters in my self-portraits in an attempt to question why some parents cannot seem to be happy with their child’s appearance. Must the child be made to feel that they are not good enough?
So Grace, if I were a hermaphrodite, part of a Siamese twin, oversized, or if I were the perfect child, a boy, with the features of your favourite actress, would you even know me anymore? Can you find beauty in ugliness? Can you appreciate me for who I am?
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