The quiet faces and still bodies depicted in portraiture are deceptively intimate. It’s satisfying to look deeply at another human, but the experience is filtered through multiple layers, and the viewer and the painter both project their own ideas onto the subject. “Human faces can have so many narratives. It’s a good vehicle to try to share an experience with my audience,” says Kim Hyunji, a Korean oil painter who specializes in portraits of people from different cultures and backgrounds. These works, featuring purple-tinted subjects within expanses of white, are a way for Hyunji to explore her identity, normalize diversity, and challenge stereotypes.
平静的表情，静止的身体，这些肖像画让人有种亲密的错觉。深入地去观察另一个人能让人有一种满足感，但这种观察往往会经过多重滤镜，观众和画家都会将自己的想法加诸于画中的人物。“人的面孔可以包含非常多的故事。这是我和观众分享经历很好的媒介。” Kim Hyunji 说道，这位韩国油画家很擅长描画来自不同文化和不同背景的人物肖像。这些作品多是以白色画布为背景，以紫色为主要色调，是她探索自己的身份认同、倡导多元文化和挑战刻板印象的一种方式。
Hyunji grew up in Korea but moved to Australia when she was 21. This was a life-changing experience for her. “After being so accustomed to only seeing Korean people while growing up in a single-race country, interacting with people from a diverse range of ethnicities was new for me,” she recalls. Korea ranks as one of the least diverse countries in the world, and because of that, she thinks many Koreans can benefit from interacting with people of different cultures.
Kim 在韩国长大，在 21 岁的时候移居澳大利亚。对她来说，这是一个人生的转折点。“自小在单一种族的国家长大，我习惯了只看到韩国人，和多元化种族的人交流对我来说是一种全新体验。”她回忆道。韩国被评为世界上最不具备文化多元性的国家之一。正因为如此，她认为韩国人们可以通过和不同文化背景的人互动而获益。
But living in Australia also carried with it a difficult set of challenges. “People yelling ‘ni hao’ at me on the street has been part of my everyday life in whatever Australian city I’ve lived in, so you can guess what it’s like here,” Hyunji says. Most Asians in Australia have experienced discrimination, including a significant number of school-age kids. While she says she faces similar issues as second-generation peers, she understands that her circumstances are different. “People of color here have been negatively stereotyped and need to work way harder,” she says.
但是，在澳大利亚生活也伴随种艰难的挑战。“人们在街上见到我就大喊‘你好’，不论是澳大利亚哪座城市，几乎每天生活都会碰到这种情况，所以你也大概能知道在这里生活是什么感觉。” Kim 说。大多数在澳大利亚生活的亚洲人都曾遭到歧视，包括很多在上学的小孩。虽然她说自己也面临其他二代移民同龄人遇到的问题，她也明白，自己的情况有所不同。“在这里，有色人种往往被加诸了负面的刻板印象，所以需要比其他人更加努力地工作。”她说。
These experiences are reflected in her art. Her paintings, featuring people with different skin tones, hairstyles, and body types, are as much a celebration of diversity as they are a subversion of beauty norms. She says that painting people of color is important as a way to normalize their appearance in Western media, where Asian and other non-white representation is lacking and distorted. In Hollywood, the first film with an all-Asian cast, Crazy Rich Asians, didn’t come out until 2018, while in adaptations of Ghost in the Shell and Aloha, Asian lead roles were given to white actors. There’s also consistent stereotyping of the Asian faces that are given space, like of South Asians in The Simpsons with the Apu character. Through her art, Hyunji seeks to redress and challenge this state of affairs.
这些经历都被反映在她艺术作品中。她在画里描绘着不同肤色、发型和身材的人物，既是对多元文化的赞颂，也是对传统美丽规范的颠覆。她说，画有色人种是为了提高他们在西方媒体的曝光度，因为在这些媒体报道中，亚洲人和其他非白人人种的形象要么是缺失，要么就是被扭曲。在好莱坞，直到 2018 年才有了第一部全由亚洲演员拍摄的电影《摘金奇缘》，而在改编的电影《攻壳机动队》和《阿罗哈》中，本来为亚洲人的主角却找了白人演员。不仅如此，影片往往会以刻板印象来表现亚洲人角色，譬如《辛普森一家》中的南亚裔角色 Apu。Kim 正是通过自己的艺术在改变和挑战这种现状。
A few years back, Hyunji moved from Perth to Melbourne. Although many of the issues she faced in Perth followed her, the newfound diversity gave her some grounding. “Melbourne has started to acknowledge white privilege, but it’s still Australia,” she says. “I don’t think my life was any easier in Melbourne, but while living there, I started interacting with the queer community, and it’s helped me accept myself and overcome a lot of insecurity.”