Anyone can be Anything
Sound, Colour, loop
Exhibited in ‘/ˈpraktɪs/’ Joint Exhibition in New Asia Ch’ien Mu Library 2014
‘Anyone can be anything’ begins with the presumption of hair colour. Born yellow-raced with black hair, we reinforce ourselves as Chinese as we read from the books about who we are, yet we do not seem to share any pride and passion as the Americans do when China launched the first rocket to space. Patriotism does not share among many individuals in Hong Kong, perhaps because of Hong Kong’s British colonial times that our history has left us with confusion, questions and controversies to our Hongkongers’ identity.
In ‘Anyone can be anything’, Celine Chan was born in Taiwan but raised in Australia. She finds it not fitting to recognise herself as a Taiwanese because of her absence in understanding of official languages in Taiwan. Neither does not find herself fitting to call herself an Australian because of her Asian appearance. What affects us in identifying ourselves – self-consciousness, appearance and racial characteristics, or others? Is yellow complexion and black hair equivalent to ‘the descendants of the dragon’? Celine recognised herself as a ‘TCK’ (Third culture kid), who is born in another cultural environment from their parents and who perceives that they do not have a standard answer of nationalities.
‘Anyone can be anything’ is a highlight and expression of confusion of self-identity, and to find out the realm and meaning of such idea. I dyed the hair of foreigners residing in Hong Kong, and asked them to speak in Cantonese ‘I am a Hongkonger’, presenting the audience with the deviation and discrepancy of ethnicities and self-identities. As the title of the work presents, Hongkongers may not be the ones who can pronounce ‘I am a Hongkonger’, and may not be the actual Hongkongers as perceived. They used to have a very westernised outfit, blonde hair and green iris, but dyed black and spoke in Cantonese in the clip. Who actually are they? How do they then perceive and identify themselves?