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Danying Chen


I spent my childhood in trauma and distress, and these experiences not only shaped my personal beliefs but also influenced my artistic expression. I incorporated these experiences into my artwork, attempting to transform pain and confusion into a medium for healing and empowerment. Through my works, I showcase these difficult experiences to the audience and seek shared understanding and empathy.

The red Mary Jane shoes are an important symbol in my artwork. They represent the innocence and joy of childhood, as well as the pain and loss of innocence that comes with childhood sexual harassment. I will always remember the evil hands reaching out to me, and how I looked down in fear with only my red Mary Jane shoes in my line of sight. I wished they could take me away and run, but I was too scared and felt trapped. This contradictory symbol allows me to explore and express the complexity of childhood trauma.

I used a lot of red in my artwork, which, for me, represents courage, pain, sex, and love. I used red to express strong emotions and evoke emotional resonance from the audience. The red Mary Jane shoes represent me as a child, while the red high heels represent women in adulthood and the male gaze in patriarchal societies, including myself. The male gaze is another key theme in my work. By revealing and challenging the power of the male gaze, I aim to subvert traditional gender power structures and give women more agency.

Danying Chen
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