“Becoming a parent made me confront my own behaviours and subconscious internal dialogue. I am continuously questioning my reactions and feelings – are they ‘true’ or do they have other origins? Are they hangovers from my own childhood?
Growing up in a Chinese family in a small English village shaped my personality in ways that I am only just beginning to truly discover. I have been examining my actions and thought processes deliberately, reframing past experiences and questioning whether these are the result of internalised racism/inferiority.
I realised that the limitations I set for myself and the beliefs I have about my own self-worth are heavily influenced by subtle racial biases.
I want to create work that examines this influence, exploring my reactions, feelings and observations of its effects as they arise from bringing up two young girls in regional Australia.
Having lived with self-destructive, self-sabotaging behaviours rooted in the underlying belief that I am ‘less than’ my peers owing to my colour, the shape of my eyes or the slant of my nose, I am very aware that I do not want to pass these messages onto my children. I do not want to pass on the internalised idea that they are not allowed to do or be certain things, that they must over-compensate for their difference by being always more – and so never feeling just ‘enough’ to be themselves.
I hope to make work that, while very personal, will resonate with others who have experienced these complex issues.”
SUBMERGED BY MIMI LEUNG
ABOUT MIMI LEUNG
Mimi Leung was born in Hong Kong, grew up in England and now lives in regional Australia. Her work explores identity, belonging and uses art to understand and transcend the mundanity of daily life. Her body of work for Submerged is about growing up as a ‘yellow’ woman, and coming to terms with her lived experiences that have been constantly denied or rejected within a predominantly white context. A central theme of this work is motherhood, and the way her thinking has shifted through seeing her own children move through similar spaces.
Submerged is supported by Greater Shepparton City Council, Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria.
All above artworks are by Mimi Leung.