“Technology Xiao Jie” 2020, digital

Art by Marilyn Sun

Artist statement:

As a child, I was always aware of the space I occupied as an Asian female. I lived in a mostly white neighbourhood, so the only thing that I yearned for was to assimilate and be like my Caucasian friends. I cast away my Chinese heritage in hopes that I would be accepted not only by my peers, but by myself. Since then, I have been on a journey of self-discovery, and am trying to regain the culture that I had lost and turned away from as a child. My work is heavily influenced by my adoration of traditional Chinese art and performance. Now, I explore and mesh traditional artistic themes with futuristic motifs through art, in an effort to try to better understand how my Chinese culture fits into my past and future self. Specifically in my piece,“Technology Xiao Jie”, my inspiration was the performers of Chinese opera. In this piece, I explored how the traditional practice of opera might fit into a futuristic setting of robots, circuits and automation. The subject of my piece is both an opera performer and an automated droid, and she exemplifies the poise and aesthetics that are needed for both characters. The juxtaposition of the past and the future can often reveal how these entities are not so different. 

I am looking forward to creating more pieces that reinvigorate past customs by fusing them together with utopian elements and aesthetics. Through this journey, I hope to inspire others to look to their past to guide them towards an innovative future.