Guligo Jia Beijing, China
December 5, 2016, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Sousou poses for a photograph in his room. Sousou, 23, Cambodian, after his parents died, he performs in a broadway in Siem Reap to support his sister and niece. He wishes to make enough money for the surgery.
My work explores the fantasies of people whose gender is fluid. There are obstacles between their fantasies and reality. These obstacles can be many such as gender discrimination and stereotypes. But in their own space they have the freedom to voice their inner selves.
After getting a bachelor degree of journalism, she has been working as a multimedia journalist for The Paper, a Chinese news outlet.
Guligo Jia was chosen by photographer Soham Gupta.
Laatikkomo’s interview with Guligo Jia July 14th, 2017.
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
GJ: I was born in Chongqing, a municipality situated in southwest China, the upper Yangtze River. Later on, I worked in Shanghai for two years. Now I’m based in Beijing.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
GJ: My earliest memory of photography is a family picture where the image of my father was torn off.
L: Your images are theatrically lit, aided by coloured light or projections of other images. What inspired you to use this kind of superposition of images?
GJ: This project explore the fantasy of people with fluid gender.
I used a projector to project pantings on the wall in their rooms, and I make portraits in relation to the paintings. The character in the paintings and my subjects share something in common either in appearance or personality.
The characters in oil paintings stands for the fantasy of my subjects, but there are also obstacles between the fantasy and reality，as you can see they are lying in heavy shadows.
In this way, I want to show that people with fluid gender can voice their desire and fantasy in their own place.
L: In many of your images your subjects seem to be in direct communication with the artwork projected onto them. How do you choose the projected artworks/images and the people modeling for them?
GJ: The character in the paintings and my subjects share something in common.I met my subjects in a drag queen theatre for foreign tourists. After getting to know each other, I choose the paintings according to my subjects’ appearance or personality. And my subjects can do whatever they want in front of the paintings. So I don’t design their postures, and I just capture their state of being in the room.
L: Your statement talks about a fluidity of gender and your images express a strong sense of sensuality. At the same time you are combining the present with images from European Art History. What are your views about how gender was represented and treated in the past?
GJ: Although gender expression is less rigid with each passing year, in large part expectations to conform to the stereotypes remain in places like China. People fail to meet the gender norms are vulnerable to discrimination and social injustice. I believe in the gender fluidity and diverse gender expressions, but I’m living in a society where people believe that women should be ladylike and feminine. When I show my ambition and my desire like a man, or wear uni-sex clothes, I often encounter judgments from people. And many of my male friends also encounter such issues about gender norms. So my work intends to break gender stereotype.
L: What is one of the most important questions that you ask yourself, or would like to inspire others to ask, through your photographs?
GJ: Why am I interested in doing projects about people with fluid gender?
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
GJ: Fantasy, inner selves, obstacles, gender, fluidity, projection
Thank you so much Guligo!!