Zhewen Jiang (CioCio)
Energetic millennials who grew up in Shanghai, China. Undergraduate at Shanghai University of Engineering Science, French-Chinese co-operation programme in Fashion and Costume Design. Observant and open to new things.
Where do you think you’re going?
In my artistic journey, I find myself drawn to the intricate interplay between the primal fears that women have historically confronted and the unrelenting weight of the patriarchal gaze. Through the vivid medium of oil painting, I seek to unravel the complexities of these emotions, offering a visual narrative that resonates with the contemporary struggles and triumphs of women within our patriarchal society.
The dichotomy between vulnerability and strength lies at the heart of my work. The “Three Hounds” oil painting encapsulates the predatory nature of power dynamics, portraying hounds as avatars of dominance and aggression. These canine figures’ eyes ablaze with an eerie luminescence mirroring the unsettling male gaze that has long sought to objectify and marginalize women. Each hound, a symbol of societal constructs, embodies different facets of this gaze: one embodies brutal dominance, another embodies objectification, and the third embodies perpetual vigilance against its scrutiny.
Conversely, the “Curled-Up Rabbit” painting highlights the vulnerability women often experience when exposed to the patriarchal gaze. This piece, with its dark-red hues and the rabbit’s wide-eyed trepidation, encapsulates the emotional toll of living under the scrutiny of societal norms. It becomes a poignant metaphor for the fear of judgment and the unceasing pressure to conform, thereby encapsulating the dichotomy of feminine vulnerability within a world dominated by masculine expectations.
By juxtaposing these two paintings, I invite viewers to navigate the complexity of women’s lives within a patriarchal society. My work speaks to the enduring struggle for autonomy, self-expression, and empowerment against a backdrop of systemic gender inequality. I aim to engage with the viewers’ emotions, inciting contemplation on the nature of power dynamics, gender roles, and the long-standing societal constructs that shape our perceptions.
Ultimately, my art serves as a visual dialogue, a reflection of my dedication to shedding light on the intricate layers of feminine resilience and vulnerability. Through these oil paintings, I aspire to foster conversations that challenge the status quo, ignite empathy, and contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding gender, identity, and the quest for equality in our ever-evolving world.