My name is Yimei (Emair) Zhu. From an early age, art has played a crucial role in my life. Yet, I found little satisfaction in the traditional modes of art education. Instead, I discovered joy and challenge in the pursuit of innovation, which led me into the world of experimental and technological art studies.
In the expansive landscape of research, I was deeply drawn to those living on the social peripheries. Their life experiences, mental worlds, and challenges provided me with fresh perspectives on art. A good example is my biological sister who has cerebral palsy. I began to realize that art held not only a critical power but also the potential for healing and inspiration. Hence, I focused my creative efforts on art with a core theme around the disabled community.
My two most representative works, "EYE, I" and "You are Beautiful," are significant attempts in this regard. As a person with high myopia, my appreciation of vision and the fear of losing it were profoundly explored in these two pieces. Through these works, I hope to offer audiences an opportunity to perceive visual art through tactile senses, experiencing a novelty and depth distinct from traditional visual art.
However, placing the focus of artistic creation on the disabled community is no easy task. In the early stages of creation, I had to confront and process a series of negative energies exposed in the research, such as pain, frustration, and fear. Importantly, I needed to tread carefully in conveying these emotions, to avoid unintentionally harming this already wounded group. I also had to take into account that while people outwardly express concern for this community, they might keep a distance or even avoid this topic in reality.
Therefore, I held onto a principle in my creation process: my artworks need to highlight the optimism and resilience of these groups, rather than their pain and despair. I believe only in this way can my artworks truly achieve the goal of healing and inspiration.
In fact, I found that such a creative method had profound social implications. My art practice enabled more people to see another side of life and the possibility of dealing with life difficulties by changing perspectives and attitudes. Art, to me, is not only a way of life but also a way of understanding and dealing with the world.
I firmly believe that the mindset of an artist—flexible, critical, and optimistic—is something everyone can attempt and possess. In my view, everyone has the potential to become an artist in life, viewing and handling life with an artist's eye. And this is the message I hope to convey to every audience through my artistic creation: We can all face life with a more relaxed and optimistic attitude, creating beauty as we go.