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Murder; Suicide (Grey)

I explore printmaking in relation to reproduction, life, and death. I make prints to process the often tragic news, both in the US and my home country, China, that reveals how lives are (de)valued according to their social roles and the sociopolitical climates. In an attempt to empathize with the subjects of the tragedies, I assume their social roles in my prints. In some of my lithographs, for example, I am the reproductive female who finds herself diminished by her ability to bring forth life.

One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters

With “womb” being the Latin origin of “matrix” — a key attribute of printmaking — print media is akin to reproduction. Respecting yet broadening that connection, I strive to show the relation between birth and death, and by association, the relation between printmaking and death.

"AHHHH"

"AHHHH" / Lithography / 15" x 11"/ 2018

To Be (or Not To Be?) (Tan)

My interest in life and death stems from an irony that I have observed in the US, namely the lives of unborn fetuses seemingly being valued more than those of living children. Working with the entire lithographic limestone as the matrix/womb, I ruminate on the fact that we never consented to being born. I wonder what we would do if we, as fetuses, knew what we were in for. In other words, I ponder whether life is a gift or a curse.

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About Danqi

Baltimore City

Danqi Cai's picture
Danqi Cai was born in Nanchang, China in 1996 and raised in Shenzhen, China. She lives in Baltimore, MD and is working towards her BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she majors in Printmaking & Humanistic Studies and concentrates in Graphic Design and Book Arts. Danqi has exhibited in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Maryland. In 2018, she participated in the Salt City Dozen portfolio exchange, won first and third place in the lithography... more

Your Body Is but a Vessel

These prints was inspired by the death of a 26-year-old pregnant Chinese woman, surnamed Ma, who had no access to epidural anesthesia and was denied a c-section to relieve her unbearable pain during childbirth. On August 31, 2017, she jumped from her hospital labor room, killing herself and her baby. Deprived of the control over her own body, she reclaimed it with her final leap.

Since China relaxed the one-child policy and is now actively encouraging families to have two children, there was a speculation that Ma’s family was concerned about her ability to carry a second child if she were given the C-section. Chinese culture's obsession with having both a daughter and (especially) a son is evident in the Chinese language: the word for "good" (好) is made up of a "girl/daughter" (女) and a "son" (子).

On a more personal note, growing up, I saw and heard about the institutional inadequacy that places females at a significant disadvantage in marriage and child rearing. When I made this series, I saw the ability to carry children as a liability for those with a womb, and believed that actual gender equality couldn’t be achieved until all genders could bear children.

  • Murder; Suicide (Grey)

    I explore printmaking in relation to reproduction, life, and death. I make prints to process the often tragic news, both in the US and my home country, China, that reveals how lives are (de)valued according to their social roles and the sociopolitical climates. In an attempt to empathize with the subjects of the tragedies, I assume their social roles in my prints. In some of my lithographs, for example, I am the reproductive female who finds herself diminished by her ability to bring forth life.
  • Murder; Suicide (Tan)

    Lithography / 14" x 14" (x2) / 2017
  • "Two Is Better Than One" (Grey)

    Lithography and screenprint / 20" x 15" / 2018

One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters

One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters is a 35.5” x 95.5” scroll made of eighteen 12” x 16” stone lithographs of a single repeating drawing that extends both vertically and horizontally. Each lithograph contains two rows of my naked bodies, seemingly dead, each facing the opposite direction with arms reaching out. All eighteen of them weaves a web. The scroll evolves from a single matrix to become literally larger-than-life (I’m 5’6”, or 66”), just like how we begin by making copies of our cells. While the lattice of my dead bodies obeys the process of reproduction, it negates fertility: the unwanted and unborn daughters leave room for sons, who now struggles to find wives and mothers for their future children.

The lithographic scroll references both the “One Hundred Sons” motif popular in ancient Chinese art, and the use of pattern block in ancient Chinese bronze-casting. Commenting on the current gender imbalance in China, it explores the irony of people not wanting daughters yet desperately needing wives for their sons.

Self Portrait/One Plus One

The form and the content of Self Portrait/One Plus One together accentuate the concept of the generative matrix and that of the multiple: not only in papermaking, but also in how we begin. Each of the 23 pages of the Japanese-bound book had portraits of my mom and my dad blown into it during sheet-forming, before being folded and bound. Varying both the sequence and the orientation of the portraits, each page is an unique union of my parents, such is each pair of my chromosomes. The end product is a representation of the genetic makeup of me as a zygote, one that would multiply to become who I am today.

To Be or Not To Be? (work in progress)

To Be or Not To Be? draws from an irony that I have observed in the US, namely the lives of unborn fetuses seemingly being valued more than those of living children. Working with the entire lithographic limestone as the matrix/womb, I ruminate on the fact that we never consented to being born. I wonder what we would do if we, as fetuses, knew what we were in for. In other words, I ponder whether life is a gift or a curse.

  • To Be (or Not To Be?) (Tan)

    My interest in life and death stems from an irony that I have observed in the US, namely the lives of unborn fetuses seemingly being valued more than those of living children. Working with the entire lithographic limestone as the matrix/womb, I ruminate on the fact that we never consented to being born. I wonder what we would do if we, as fetuses, knew what we were in for. In other words, I ponder whether life is a gift or a curse.
  • To Be (or Not To Be?) (Grey)

    Lithography / 26" x 20"/ 2018

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