This painting is the first in a series entitled, “I only ask for a camel” which is a reference to the translated Ballad of Hua Mulan. The series is inspired by different forms of sacrifice; I painted this while considering the concepts of bodily sacrifices made by women, as well as lifelong sacrifices of filial piety, as exemplified in legends like the story of Mulan.
I only ask for a camel that can travel a thousand li
That can take me back to my hometown
The figure in this painting has very exaggerated anatomy and is posed grotesquely, with lots of discoloration and graying as if the body has been cast aside like an empty husk. I included the colosseum in the background to reference the brutality associated with the traditions of gladiatorial games. By juxtaposing the figure with this setting, I hope for the viewer to draw their own parallels and come to a unique interpretation.
“I take off my battle cloak
And put on my old-time clothes.
I adjust my wispy hair at the window sill
And apply my bisque makeup by the mirror.”