hand-cut Chinese mulberry paper painted with watercolour and gouache
300 x 300 cm

Vanitas is a nine-unit hand-cut paper installation consisting of a skull surrounded by fairy-like gigantic and colourful fruits. 

This conceptual still-life artwork depicts symbolic objects to remind the viewers to consider our relationship with food and nature. Each paper-cut possesses its own symbolism: grapes, pomegranate, and melons symbolise fertility; and peaches symbolise long life. At first glance, viewers are presented with an illusion of prosperity and happiness. However, the middle reveals a cut-out of a skull that emerges from the water, plants, and the air. Fruit is a metaphor for many things and invites interpretations and contemplations. I created the work to express my concerns about the issue of genetically modified food, the constant conflict between man-made and nature, and the gradual substitution of the natural with the artificial.

At present, the environmental crisis is threatening our everyday lives. Food has been challenged by politics, the economy, technology, and moral beliefs. The work is a survival call to action for our children.

Papercuts fruits symbolise the fragility of life and the substitution of real. I painted the contrasting colour background to evoke the urgency of contemporary living conditions. Food is personal, and so should our concern for what we eat, at the time when food faces environmental and technological challenges.

Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award 2021
22 January – 27 March 2022