Who Am I?


Ladies


BY: LIAU SHU JUAN

Satoko Nachi, Doll, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 194.0 x 194.0 cm

Satoko Nachi, Doll, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 194.0 x 194.0 cm

The lady stares upwards, her eyes hidden by two eye patches, the gauzes used after a cosmetic eye surgery to give oneself a pair of double eyelids. Her porcelain smooth face highlights her complexion and beauty. She stares without sight, her red vermilion lips closed. You could almost touch them, feel its shimmer and gloss and the well-powdered smooth skin of a perfectly structured cheekbone. Roses and Chrysanthemum adorn her silky brown hair; they also hang delicately on her ears and around her neck.

Satoko Nachi, who is having an ‘About Him’ exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery, wants to show her friends’ ‘inner characters’ and often paints them intimately. The eye patches are an intriguing element in this life sized painting. They conceal her eyes which are the very elements that show the liveliness and essence of one.

Is the lady afraid of seeing the world with her new look or afraid of a botched job? Is she unaccustomed to this new identity? Cosmetic surgery enhances but they remove the very quirks, we call ‘defects’, that construed each unique individual’s identity.

It is hence hard to see beyond the surface if one over emphasises external beauty. Just like the gauze that block the lady’s view, they similarly block the sitter’s understanding of beauty.

What then is the definition of beauty? Where does the boundary of beauty ends and the judgmentalism of ugliness steeps in?

Beauty is innocent; beauty is self-sacrificial; beauty is confidence. However, with her covered eyes, she cannot see what she already has.

Plastic surgery alters one’s features to various extents. Where does one’s identity truly starts and ends? The lady is taking on a new physical identity and it can affect one’s raw emotions and cognition. The painting hence portrays a deeper reading of both the superficiality and complexity of cosmetic/plastic surgery. There is a physical confidence in the beauty that the lady exudes but beneath this man-made confidence, is an inferiority of uncertainty and fear that pervades even the most beautiful or talented person.

Satoko Nachi, stage, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 240.5 x 170.0 cm

Satoko Nachi, stage, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 240.5 x 170.0 cm

At the other spectrum, is June (not her real name). She is a picture of nobleness and strength. Unlike the first lady, she is dressed simply, in a white plain singlet. Her long black hair is not adorned with flowers but hang plainly down the front. Her ebony black strands of hair seemingly highlighting the plainness of her singlet. However, she exudes an image of confidence.

She stares almost defiantly at the viewer, her conscience free. It’s as if she is saying, ‘I’ve nothing to hide. This is me’.

Email: mondaymuseum@outlook.com

Disclaimer: All views on the site are solely of the author’s and in no way are a representation of any individuals or organizations.

Copyright © 2013 Liau Shu Juan.

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