Artist Statement

My appreciation to the English countryside’s idyllic landscape and traditional English painting was inspired by my first field trip to west Cornwall in 2014. Before the real experience in the region, my imagination that established on novels and screen images had set an idealised expectation to the natural and urban scenes of the Penwith Peninsula. I thought I understand the region well enough; thus, my task would be tracing down sceneries only. Years of study in the history of art and more profound understanding in painting enlightened me that my preconceived way of picturing a strange region reveals nothing but my arrogance as well as parochialism.

As my career continues, I have experienced inconveniences caused by stereotypes of my identity label constantly. I noticed the similar arrogance between my expectation in Cornwall and how people treated my identity. It led my interest in exploring identity issues. I spent the past three years on developing works regarding this problem, countering specific bias and hostility in the society. Gradually, I moved my focus to a broader context. 

Looking back to Cornwall, especially from their repeated emphasise on the cultural signiture, I have noticed anxiety over losing the identity among Cornish people. Massively developing tourism and the flourishing in real estate has resurrected their past of being colonised by images.

But aside from antiforeignism, I believe an outsider can understand, respect and love a landscape as any indigenous resident does. Ultimately, I wish to challenge the context which misguided people to form stereotypical impressions of landscapes that they are not familiar with. I intend to reflect challenge the way people depict Cornish landscape and carry on my investigation to a new stage.

I believe there is a social responsibility for a qualified professional artist (or an art student) to fulfil. As an academic, one must contribute to knowledge; as an artist, it is essential to reveal real issues to the public attention. In my opinion, making practical contributions to society, while expanding the territory of human knowledge, is the noblest cause I can possibly picture.

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.