Ketty Zhang is a research-based multidisciplinary artist currently based in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples known as Vancouver. As a first-generation Chinese immigrant to Canada, she has always been interested in the topic of diasporic identity, especially in a millennial context. Working with a wide range of materials, she is fascinated with existing discourses around everyday objects and technologies and our day-to-day experiences; she believes that the personal is political. She holds a BA Double Major in Visual Arts and Art History from the University of British Columbia (2017). She has exhibited at Beijing Design Week, Vancouver Art Book Fair, Surrey Art Gallery, The Reach Gallery Museum, Hatch Gallery and Dynamo Arts Association among others. She also works in the fields of English-Chinese translation in the art space and alternative data research to complement and inspire her continued art practice. More of her work can be seen at www.kettyhaolinzhang.com.
Inkjet print on satin
Shown here are 200 Facebook users who share my last name and are "most connected" with me according to Facebook’s algorithm. This piece is printed on satin, an important commodity that travelled along the Silk Road, in the form of a wall hanging decor. The work speaks to relational closeness in the age of social media and algorithms, but also in the context of diaspora: behind the happy profile pictures, have they, too, felt like they've never really belonged? Have they, too, been made ashamed of their identity growing up? Are they, too, used to the lack of representation in the media and positions of power, but still feel disappointed every time they notice it? Are they, too, tired of all of this, but still and will fight for what is fair in big and small ways?
Inkjet prints, glass cups, burnt paper with handwritten text
Therapy explores the ancient practice of cupping, which is often considered a pseudoscience in the West but long believed to help with various health issues in many Asian cultures. For this work, pieces of paper with handwritten texts ruminating on memories of the past were lit on fire and placed into glass cups, which were then held against my own skin to create suction around pain points on my body. While the temporary marks left on the skin look very much like traces of self-harm, they are rather part of the process of self-healing and a reminder of the struggles experienced along the way.
Little Book of Anxiety
Marker on tracing paper, acetate
Made of fragile, semi-transparent paper with handwritten text, this artist book overlays self-talk and ruminative thoughts like a dark cloud, a visual cacophony of one's anxiety. Only by flipping through it page by page can one break it down into sensible texts.
Writing Our Way Home
Journal pages, pins, thread, paper tags, shadow box
This piece features pages taken from personal diaries of different members in my family, spanning a few decades. The pins and English translation point to text where we write about family, moments of happiness and struggles and the blood ties that would always bind us together.
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