Skin Deep – North York
- Artist: Chun Hua Catherine Dong
- Medium: Photography Installation
- Project Type: Commissioned Project
- Neighbourhood: North York
A series of photographs with Augmented Reality that explores Asian shame culture through performing self-portraits.
5120 Yonge St
- Address: 5120 Yonge
- Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible
- Schedule: October 2 to 10. Viewable Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sunday from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Chinese shame is rooted around the concept of face which refers to a cultural understanding of respect, honor and social standing. Shame is used as a tool of social control and harmony, as a way to prevent citizens— especially women—from acting in ways that might disrupt the status quo. Dong creates a series of ID card photographs with faces concealed in Chinese traditional silk fabrics. The act of masking is a performance of submission to the powerful effects of shame in which Dong obliterates their own individuality while being completely absorbed into a cultural identity. It refers both to the quality of only being seen for Dong’s Chinese background as an immigrant in Canada, and the subsequent lack of acknowledgement of their full personhood as a girl when in China. “Skin Deep” is an act of drawing back the curtain and pointing to the deeply embedded feelings of shame that can cause women to hold back and stay silent, transforming the performative gestures into experiences that are understood to be universal and relatable.
Chun Hua Catherine Dong is a Chinese-born Montreal-based artist working with performance, photography, video, AR and VR. Dong received a BFA from Emily Carr University Art & Design and MFA from Concordia University in Canada. Dong has exhibited their works and performed nationally and internationally. Dong was a finalist for Contemporary Art Award at Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec 2020. Dong received Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award from the Conseil des arts de Montréal in 2021.