girl under shelter (+ other sketches)


Slow, steady, and small experiments in Chinese language, symbolism and pattern. Chinese language consists of thousands of characters/words that are each made up of individual or combined pictograms and ideographs. In this work in progress I carve pictogram and ideograph rubber stamps to play with interpretive rhythm, repetition and composition.

Here is the middle character of my Chinese name 安: pronounced ‘On’ in Cantonese, or ‘An’ in Mandarin. In English, 安 translates to peace, calm, secure, quiet, still and other similar qualities.

The two parts that make up the character 安 are the ideograph 宀 (a kind of house/shelter) and pictogram 女 (girl/woman), which can then be read literally as girl under shelter, or girl at home.

As well, I have separated my surname 張 (Cheung) into its two ideographic parts:  弓 (bow) and 長 (long, constant, forever, lasting). Aside  from being one of the most common surnames in the world, the word 張 also translates to expand, spread, tension and nervous. In Cantonese, the character also serves as measure or unit for objects with flat surfaces, such as chairs or paper.