Family Portrait is a series of digital watercolor drawings that explores how family violence affects all family members, especially from a child’s perspective.
In my drawings I seek to depict the emotional landscape of family relations and show the individual experiences of each person. For example, in one drawing the mother character is facing a different direction and hiding her emotions while the other family members look ahead. Throughout the series there are various meanings to be found in the background imagery and objects that help to convey my intended narrative. The opening of a classical Chinese screen symbolizes an ‘exit’ to walk away from the family. The pictures behind the little girl represent her understanding of an ideal marriage. Patterns and decorations also have different meanings in my work. The embroidered bamboo patterns symbolize the father’s obstinate personality, and the blooming floral patterns on the young girl’s dress symbolizes her hope for peace within her family. Most importantly, these images portray how children see family violence.
Women’s social status and feminism have become topics of concern. Feminism is not only about national politics but also a symbol of the progress of human civilization. According to a Chinese government official website, 24.7% of women in China have suffered from abuses, beatings, restrictions on personal freedom, economic control, and other forms of family violence throughout their marriage.
In this series, children’s vision has been shown as an important element. That is because if a child is born in a family that experiences violence, they will be at risk of growing up to continue these behaviors or they are more likely to be insecure because of their childhood shadows. This project also reminds people to avoid family violence because children are always watching their parents. This series of drawings also incorporates elements from my childhood memories. It explores the feelings I used to have when violence was a problem in my family.