Liao Qian 廖倩

b. 1998 in Guangzhou, China
based in New York, homeland of the Lenape

I’m a multitalented artist. I practice visual art, billingual writing and dance.

Investigating the powers of image-making and non-verbal communication is where my passion lands. Why talk if we can sing instead?

Proud survivor claiming space on earth.

Formerly known as Joss Liao.

CV |  
Visual Art:       

   Nüwa Project/女娲计划      
   Poetic Encounters/诗意偶遇    


Dance videos:

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Nüwa Project 女娲计划

I’ve been fascinated with a Chinese mythological goddess called 女娲 (Nǚwā). In ancient Chinese folk stories, Nüwa sculpted humans out of mud, blew life into and animated them. When a natural disaster happened, the sky broke and resulted in many people were dying. As the mother of all, Nüwa used a seven-coloured stone (七彩石) to mend the sky and saved her humans. This story is called 女娲补天 (Nüwa mends sky). Nüwa inspired my material curiosity towards clay, especially the healing power of clay. I find Nüwa not only a powerful metaphor for healing but also an artist, someone who creates, transforms and gives life to her art. 

In this series of works, I focused on the gift of femininity in my family and aimed to conntect it to the commonality of female lineage through cross-cultural studies. My curiosity towards mother goddesses drew me to self-guided research on revisionist mythology and Jungian archetypal psychology. One commonality I found is that the creator of life from clay story, prevalent in numerous regions and cultures besides Nüwa in China. 

Image-making wise, I was playing with ancient Chinese visual culture found through archelogical studies (半坡陶符), magical symbols from Hayao Miyazaki’s movies and the sorcerer, cave art found in 'The Sanctuary' at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France, made around 13,000 BC

Poetic Encounters 诗意偶遇

This project started from a daily drawing practice I carried out in 2022 summer. Everyday, I drew on a piece of 11 by 14 paper with the same box of oil pastels. This repetitiveness made me feel safe and enabled me to savor the creative freedom leveraged by extreme material restrictions. These drawings started from either a moment, a line or a shade, all unplanned accidents. There were no references, no strings attached; strictly wandering.

This practice was my effort to break away from production-oriented mindset and the constant self-critique I struggle with--wounds in my ego. When making these drawings, myself was my only tool and resource. After a long dissociative hibernation, I wanted to rekindle my passion for art, the kind of innocence, confidence and freedom I experienced when I was four. 

The exhibit location, a Taiwanese boba store near where I live, is of personal significance. It’s free to put up works, warm and smells sweet. In the 2000s, Taiwanese bubble tea swept through mainland, including Shanghai, the city I lived in. Next to my middle school, there was a small place selling boba tea (珍珠奶茶) and popcorn chicken (盐酥鸡). After a long day of taxing schoolwork, I often stopped by on my way home to satisfy my cravings. In my memories, the smell of boba store resembles a quick, cheap, yet nourishing snack and a warm room filled with casual chitchats. 

This project is about self discovery, an intimate path to recovery/rebirth, the way home. Process-based, experimental and poetic, this series of works assembles into a maze of metaphors for the viewers’ witness and choice of navigation.

all images draggeable, sizable and arrangeable:)