Finding voices through culture, identity, and sexuality
This surrealistic portrait series tells a metaphorical coming-of-age story of a Geisha. Being an American woman of East Asian descent, this series stems from a personal struggle wrapped in my racial and sexual identity that straddles two cultures. These images remark on the way I am seen, the way I want to be seen, and how I see myself in the context of traditional and contemporary society.
Using the Geisha as a metaphor to reference a stark and stripped-down iconography depicting “sexualized Asian woman,” these photographs reflect on the expectations that different societies place on East Asian women and the complicated emotions that occur when taking part in them.
Each scene in this series represents a particular age growing up and exhibits a reaction respective to that transformation. Using a specific progression of colors and props to evoke development and metamorphosis, we follow our protagonist from the puerile age of innocence, through the rebellious phases of adolescence, and finally into the full blossoming of womanhood. In styling and set design, we utilize themes of innocence, menstruation, nakedness, sexuality, power, and poise to simultaneously communicate compliance and disquiet in the playing and defying of these roles. In cycling through the embodiment of these themes within, a continual rebirth of identity occurs every time one stands up to perform.