PAPER SUIT consists of a chore jacket and a pair of trousers made from traditional Chinese calendar papers. Challenging the idea of “durability” from chore jackets through its fragile paper thin material, this work sits in an interstitial space between materiality and meaning.
Originally worn for its durability by blue collar workers and farmers, chore jackets first appeared in France in the late 19th century and into the scene of chinese garments by peasants and workers.
The original intention of “durability” of the chore jacket is then transformed beyond materiality and expressed through our resilient spirits. Within the community of the International District/Chinatown, those who are in Hong Kong fighting for democracy, to any Asian American who has been targeted out of fear and ignorance, to the global uprising for justice for black lives—this system that no longer serves us. I realized that these are not separate, everything is interconnected. While some of us remain in quarantine while COVID persists, while two million people are unemployed, and global protests continue to push against the system, we are more connected than we are divided. Each and every one of us matters and our actions carry weight, it creates an impact and ripples to those around us, so we must persist because we have the ability to endure.
Vivian Mak is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose interest lies in storytelling, exploring identities and perceptions of the self through physical and digital objects. Art, for her, is a crucial means for how it can be used in society to evoke important questions and on the other hand, an answer to existing questions.
JACOB LAWRENCE GALLERY
Art Building, Room 132 E Stevens Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105