Social conditioning in patriarchal cultures makes women believe that their sexuality is their power source. However, for men, their knowledge is their power source. Men fight for access to women’s bodies and women fight for access to the thoughts of men. The background is vague because this place could be anywhere in the world, at any time in history, sadly, even today.
This is a direct observational painting inspired by a gothic short story, The Red Room by H.G. Wells. The shadows in the book haunt the narrator continuously during his sleep, on a red chair in a red room. But all the “ ghost” that the narrator sees are imagined. I chose to paint a woman, instead of a man, to reflect the idea that when women stop living in illusions and made-up fears, they can discover a new part of themselves, a mind of their own.
The butterflies coming out of my heart symbolize my desire for growth. They also represent my longing to integrate new ideas into my life and into my art. The flight of the butterflies symbolize my wish to break from the limitations of growing up in a small city, within a culture where people follow similar paths. I struggle to have conversations about my dreams with people in my town. Nevertheless, I know that attending college will change everything.
Bed of Lies
This is a direct observational drawing. I decided to draw eyes on the bed sheets to reflect how I used to rely on the observations and opinion of others for my sense of self-worth. In my growth, I have learned to build my self-esteem by valuing my abilities and talents. The model is looking away from the viewer to reflect that even though people judge her, she does not rely on their opinion.
Ce’ce Chen is a senior at Diamond Bar High School.