She has Always Conformed (2021)
Chen Yang was born in China in 1998. Before coming to Kingston University to study an MA in Photography, she completed a degree in Literature of Drama and Film in China.
She has Always Conformed is a deeply personal project that focuses on the complex growth issues of Chinese girls. Yang grew up in an environment which was not only full of love but also discipline. Her work is dedicated to raising awareness of how female adolescents are educated in China under strict parental control and the exaggerated standards of female morality imposed by society.
In She has Always Conformed, while living alone in the UK, Yang explores her vulnerabilities and desires as she grapples with transforming into the young women she would like to be. This rite of passage is played out through a series of self-portraits using props related to her childhood and cultural background including Chinese traditional clothes and the symbolic green paint used in Chinese state institutions. In these self-portraits her face is never revealed, her hair acting as a mask or disguise expressing shame or fear as she searches for an identity outside of the cultural and familial constraints imposed on her.