Student Work

  • Fine Arts (MFA)

    Shenyuan Ke

    Only One Child

    My work focuses on the contemporary Chinese female psyche after the One Child Policy. I use sculptural installation to express this subject by using my own childhood dolls and stuffed animals and subjecting them to various kinds of manipulation. I bind them tightly with yarn, sew their ears over their eyes, take apart their limbs, encase them in plaster, coat them with hot glue or wax and write the "Perfect Child Rules" of Confucianism all over them. I have selected toys as my primary material because there are no siblings in China. Instead, the doll is the friend, the brother or sister, with which all play is shared and upon which all emotions are projected. The material manipulations I enact are a way to repeat existing cultural systems that both control and protect Chinese girls. My work aims to express my own experience of this cultural restriction but also aims to explore a way out of these restrictions. While my work is not a critique of One Child Policy, I am responding to the ways in which this policy has solidified, expanded and continued traditional ways of treating women.