You Will Never Own Me

Jacqueline Meng & Emma Rani Hodges
   
February
   
4
 -  
February
   
15
'Their fictitious shrine to their experiences as women of hybrid cultural identities creates a space that allows reflection on feelings of love, loss, fragmentation and nostalgia for places and cultures not completely known.'

INFORMATION

 ‘You Will Never Own Me’ will be a collaborative show combining individual works and co-authored pieces by emerging Canberra artists Emma Rani Hodges and Jacqueline Meng, both of whom are Australians of Asian descent. Their fictitious shrine to their experiences as women of hybrid cultural identities creates a space that allows reflection on feelings of love, loss, fragmentation and nostalgia for places and cultures not completely known. The exhibition explores cross cultural identity in relation to religious trends, globalisation and consumer culture. Within this fast-moving paradigm,cultural identity has come to exist in a state of flux. This argument is backed by cultural theorist Trinh T Minh Ha who contends that within Western Society, the migrant woman’s experience is one of multiplicities and fragmented identity. The inability to fit fully into a western identity as well as the distance from reclaiming a fully eastern identity renders this exhibition as a space where both Hodges and Meng attempt to create and project our own art as identity; a somewhat utopia in the midst of living between cultures.

This is explored through the visual languages of kitsch, decoration and embellishment, as these often exist within the domestic sphere which is associated with women. They also hold different social connotations in Asia than in Australia where kitsch is viewed as genuinely beautiful, whereas in the West it is seen as a cheap, tasteless reproduction, hence implementing a hierarchy of value. Asian spirit houses are decorated with plastic flowers and fluorescent lights in both temples and domestic environments. In the West, kitsch shrines are located only in the home and are rarely present in institutions. ‘You Will Never Own Me’ contrasts the imagery and ideas of several religions, it is ironic and playful, non-linear and non-sensical in order to reflect the experience of living between cultures. Acknowledging national identity as a deliberate social construction both artists make room for their own narratives against this currently accepted paradigm.

Artist Bios

Jacqueline Meng is a Canberra based Chinese-Australian artist and graduate from the ANU School of Art and Design. Her art brings together a wide range of references to hybrid cultural identities, including the mass production of visual content in the age of Instagram culture, iconography throughout history, and pop culture. Working across a variety of disciplines, her work uses kitsch, colour and sometimes humour to investigate ideas of race and its politics, consumer culture, and content sharing in the digital age. 

Emma Rani Hodges’ work explores her mixed Thai, Chinese and Australian heritage through a post-colonial and feminist framework. Working in the language of expanded painting, her work draws on personal narratives and inserts marginalised voices into the dominant cultural discourse of white Australia. Fluctuating between image, text and object, Hodges’s work resists easy categorisation. She combines incongruous material (painting, textiles, and found materials) to assert that her multi ethnic identity can exist as a cohesive unified whole and challenges the view that individuals of mixed heritage are “caught between two worlds”. 

 ‘You Will Never Own Me’ will be a collaborative show combining individual works and co-authored pieces by emerging Canberra artists Emma Rani Hodges and Jacqueline Meng, both of whom are Australians of Asian descent. Their fictitious shrine to their experiences as women of hybrid cultural identities creates a space that allows reflection on feelings of love, loss, fragmentation and nostalgia for places and cultures not completely known. The exhibition explores cross cultural identity in relation to religious trends, globalisation and consumer culture. Within this fast-moving paradigm,cultural identity has come to exist in a state of flux. This argument is backed by cultural theorist Trinh T Minh Ha who contends that within Western Society, the migrant woman’s experience is one of multiplicities and fragmented identity. The inability to fit fully into a western identity as well as the distance from reclaiming a fully eastern identity renders this exhibition as a space where both Hodges and Meng attempt to create and project our own art as identity; a somewhat utopia in the midst of living between cultures.

This is explored through the visual languages of kitsch, decoration and embellishment, as these often exist within the domestic sphere which is associated with women. They also hold different social connotations in Asia than in Australia where kitsch is viewed as genuinely beautiful, whereas in the West it is seen as a cheap, tasteless reproduction, hence implementing a hierarchy of value. Asian spirit houses are decorated with plastic flowers and fluorescent lights in both temples and domestic environments. In the West, kitsch shrines are located only in the home and are rarely present in institutions. ‘You Will Never Own Me’ contrasts the imagery and ideas of several religions, it is ironic and playful, non-linear and non-sensical in order to reflect the experience of living between cultures. Acknowledging national identity as a deliberate social construction both artists make room for their own narratives against this currently accepted paradigm.

Artist Bios

Jacqueline Meng is a Canberra based Chinese-Australian artist and graduate from the ANU School of Art and Design. Her art brings together a wide range of references to hybrid cultural identities, including the mass production of visual content in the age of Instagram culture, iconography throughout history, and pop culture. Working across a variety of disciplines, her work uses kitsch, colour and sometimes humour to investigate ideas of race and its politics, consumer culture, and content sharing in the digital age. 

Emma Rani Hodges’ work explores her mixed Thai, Chinese and Australian heritage through a post-colonial and feminist framework. Working in the language of expanded painting, her work draws on personal narratives and inserts marginalised voices into the dominant cultural discourse of white Australia. Fluctuating between image, text and object, Hodges’s work resists easy categorisation. She combines incongruous material (painting, textiles, and found materials) to assert that her multi ethnic identity can exist as a cohesive unified whole and challenges the view that individuals of mixed heritage are “caught between two worlds”. 

FEATURED WORKS

Jacqueline Meng, 🐭  🎀  𝐵𝒶𝒷𝓎 𝒹💮𝓁𝓁 𝓎💞𝓊 𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓎 𝒾𝓃 𝓂𝓎 𝓂𝒾𝓃𝒹, 𝒻𝓊𝓁𝒻𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓂𝓎 𝒻𝒶𝓃𝓉𝒶𝓈𝓎.  𝐼 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝓀 𝒶𝒷❁𝓊𝓉 𝓎🍬𝓊 𝒶𝓁𝓁 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓉𝒾𝓂𝑒, 𝐼 𝓈𝑒𝑒 𝓎𝓊 𝒾𝓃 𝓂𝓎 𝒹𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓂𝓈.  🎀  🐭, 2020, Acrylic on Plywood, 42 x 61 cm
Jacqueline Meng, Cranes Snakes  Ying &Yang., 2020, Acrylic on Plywood, 42 x 61 cm
Jacqueline Meng & Emma Hodges, Worship, 2020, Acrylic on Newspaper, dimensions variable
Emma Rani Hodges, Emma and Nicola’s mum, Emma and Nicola’s mum, Emma and Nicola’s mum, Emma and Nicola’s mum. Moved to Australia and became mum instead of Mæ̀, raises two children in a foriegn language, loves them both dearly is loved by them dearly, 2020, Oil on canvas, 20 x 25.5 cm
Emma Rani Hodges, People born in the year of Chinese zodiac Rat have a not bad luck in 2020. They have pretty good luck in making money. They might easily pass examinations and get promoted. The 2020 Rat fortune in love relationship is also good. They may meet someone they like through the elder. However, the fortune in health is not good. They may easily get heart problems and diseases of respiratory system. And they are suggested to drink less alcohol and do more exercise to relax. Luck = 3 stars, 2020, Mixed media, Dimensions variable 
Emma Rani Hodges, Wombok requires warm growing conditions, deep, well-drained, fertile soil and consistent, plentiful moisture and lots of love. The leaves, which are the harvested organ, lay side by side densely, are lime green coloured with white leaf veins and have a smooth surface. The vegetable has an oval form and weighs 1–3 kg. The plant flowers, but often these are never seen as the plant is harvested before these flowers are allowed to grow. I hope I’m allowed to grow, 2020, Oil and gold plastic on canvas, 23 x 30 cm
Emma Rani Hodges, Still learning to pray and give offerings, sorry I’m such a bad buddhist, 2018, Photo on paper, acrylic paint and found objects on canvas, 20 x 20 cm

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS