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Visual Arts

Beijing Opera Mask
Artist: Yeqiang Wang
Oil on Canvas

“Beijing Opera Mask” is an oil painting approximately 4 by 2¾ feet. At first glance from a distance the work looked like a Beijing Opera Mask. The mask appears as a traditional Chinese cut out. This is an art of using negative and positive space to create elaborate symbols and images, usually in the paper form. The face of the mask is judging and accusing, almost angry. As one approaches the work an image of a woman becomes apparent to the viewer in the positive space that made up the image of the mask. The woman is upside down with her leg over her shoulder. Her eyes are closed and her is mouth open in a sexual state of ecstacy. She has blond hair and her face is made-up with red lipstick and pink eyeshadow. Her breasts are exposed and her nipples erect. The only clothing in the painting is black lace nylons and straps. The model is laying on a lush red material. Once the image was examined it becomes a cliché of the typical "playboy" photograph. The "playboy" cliché and the Chinese Opera Mask create a juxtaposition of different cultures. In China sexually provocative images, such as this one are illegal, whereas in Canada it is not. The image of the judging opera mask directs anger towards the typical North American sex industry.
Description by Ilene Sova

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