2021, Glass beads, cotton thread, 28*20*80 cm, photo credit to Shuoran Zhou
“Expectation is a double-sided sword. It gives people hope and motivation, but is also the cradle for disappointment and pressure.
In the past, Chinese women were expected to be skillful in knitting, sewing, weaving, or other needlework techniques that were meant for women. The mothers used the skills to make dowries for their daughters who are married off to their husband’s families, as the best wishes and blessings to their daughters. The dowries are often decorated with motifs or patterns that contains significant meanings, which mostly indicate expectations for fecundity. Pomegranate was one of the most commonly chosen motifs, as the word “seedy” has the same pronunciation as the Chinese term “duo zi” which means “many children”.
Nowadays the expectation on women’s mastery of needlework is no longer a prevailing concept, but the ideology inherited from it, the expectations on reproduction, is still deeply rooted and has barely been changed. When my mom expects me to have a happy marriage and have my own children, her expectations transformed into pressure on me, rather than good wishes and blessings, as I have no interests in going on those paths.
The piece Pomegranate therefore is my attempt to embody the contradictory polarity I perceived from the expectations, by representing the notion of lightness and heaviness. While the red glass beads make the piece resemble a ripe, chapped pomegranate, the lightness and thinness of the the necklace could make the wearer feel stronger for the heaviness of the beads below. While the viewer can see the luxurious seeds from the outside, the wearer can only feel the weight on the neck, and see the empty, hollowed inside.”
Shuoran Zhou was born in Beijing, China, and is an artist currently located in Syracuse, NY. She graduated with a BFA in Oil Painting from China Academy of Art in 2019, and is pursuing her MFA in Studio art at Syracuse University. Shuoran’s work had been exhibited in 798 art district, Beijing, as well as the online show “Metal + ? =” juried by Robert Ebendorf. Shuoran’s current body of work derives from people’s stereotypes and prejudice about women, and focuses on advocating women’s rights.