Tributaries: Volume 3

Page 40


Untitled (loving me is worth being proud of) 兔兒神回來 (Return of The Rabbit God) Alger Liang Artist Statement Liang’s recent work, 兔兒神回來 (Return of The Rabbit God), inspired by a queer 18th century Qing Dynasty folktale by scholar and poet 袁枚 (Yuan Mei), is born from navigating the queer Chinese diaspora and the toggling of two worlds. How do you negotiate yourself being in both - a cultural space that celebrates your heritage but condemns your queer identity, but also a colonial Western space that accepts your queerness but orientalises your heritage? How does being in each space inform how you move and perform within each space? Through world building and fashion photography, this work explores these intersections and claims them in full glory - it narrates a contemporary Rabbit God, an androgynous fashion deity who reimagines a new Asian diasporic futurity for bodies navigating the tension between these two spaces. Their return is a reclamation of queer identity and cultural roots. Similarly, Untitled (loving me is worth being proud of) is a propaganda style screen-print that also speaks to the present and the future by re-activating the past. Liang uses archival imagery, bold text, and colour to convey affect in memory, history, and trauma. The Chinese characters that translate to “loving me is worth being proud of” can be read as affirmation and cynicism. The work asks - “living as an Asian diasporic settler, what does it mean to be proud and how does pride shift and manifest through cultural difference?” Model/Creative Director: Alger Liang Photographers: Tyler Bolivar Assistant Photographer: Terrell Paiva Makeup Artist: Melfinna Tjugito Wardrobe Stylist: Rina Ong Hair Stylist: Patrick Uy Calligrapher: Sheen Wong