Masks (2000)

In this work, I became concerned about my individual identity in relation to my racial appearance. I made a series of masks based on my own face creating a plaster mould to use for slip casting. I made multiples masks, creating a small production line, painting each surface in a simplified uniform Chinese opera mask design to imply this role I must live up to. The design was purposely simplified to represent a corporatised stereotypical cultural identity, which at times I have felt have been imposed upon me, because of my racial appearance. As an Australian of Chinese descent, the relationship between my racial identity and personality have not always been apparent, quite often there is an expectation for me to behave in a Chinese manner, when my cultural outlook has mostly been informed by my Australian upbringing. In this work, I wanted to explore how individual identity has shifted in a globalising pluralistic society in Australia and how at times, I have felt a loss of individual identity because I have been compared to cultural and racial stereotypes. Through a series of masks which deals with the surface of one's identity, I wanted to express that at times I have felt anonymous and perhaps voiceless in Australian society due to being categorised as Chinese. The work questions how the individual is perceived amongst the collective in society, when one is considered part of a minority migrant grouping.