A triptych of acrylic paintings exploring pronouns throughout Chinese history, especially the Mandarin variations of 他 (ta), and how it used to be gender neutral, with the radical in front standing for human, but post Western influence, became “he”. How the feminine version is separate from human. How 佢 (kui) in Cantonese & Taishanese, my mother tongue, and a dying tongue, is still neutral, still human, still everyone.

How mirrors are portals, and facing two mirrors together opens up the realms in between. How, I exist within that in between, and maybe I'm a mirror that’s constantly reflecting into another one, crossing through realms of possibility. Of accepting that being non-binary doesn’t have to be neutral, and gender expression and identity could be everywhere and nowhere at once. Of accepting that it’s always been expressed in history. Of accepting. being lost in the midst. & still, accepting.

This series goes from butterfly weeds that mean “leave me behind” to broken tiles giving way to pools of weeds, aka plants that are foreign and thus “invasive”, to daffodils that mean “rebirth”.

Created on 16" x 20" on canvas and embroidered using red thread. Published in Silk Club's Quiet 07.

© Copyright 2022 Sally Chen