go for waxing lah.
The idea for this project was sparked by one line that was said to me a few months back, “Your arms are so hairy, go for waxinglah". I was so taken aback by what he had said that it festered into a collection of wearable sculptures and performance art videos. The experience was such an eye opener to how the world is constantly being bombarded by unrealistic beauty ideals in the media that support the notion that women are required to be hairless, almost as if we women evolved in such a way that our skin is now smooth, scar-less, devoid of lumps and bumps, and god forbid… HAIR!!
I wanted to challenge these unrealistic notions of beauty with this project, Go For Waxing Lah (yes, I named it after the line that was thrown at me). With hair removal in mind, I became intrigued by the act of putting hair back onto the body instead of removing it, going against what women are “supposed” to do with their body hair.
I began with a performance piece titled, Wax On (performance) (2018), where I waxed my body then taped the hair filled wax strips back on as a way to deal with my cognitive dissonance pertaining to hair removal. It shows my battle between belief and action, where I have a desire to keep up with society’s expectations of how a woman should be hairless although it contradicts my belief in the matter. The violent action of taping and putting it back on acts as a form of apology and regret for having this desire to please by having to reject parts of myself, those parts being my own hair, as well as my beliefs.
Armed with the hair filled wax strips from the performance, I set out to create something pretty and grotesque. I created a dress. The dainty 2-piece pink wearable sculpture is made out of 160 used wax trips filled with my hair as well as 3 other women’s.
I wore this dress in my second performance piece, Hair Ball (2018), where I put a ball of my own hair in my mouth and pulled it out strand by strand.
By putting hair, something that is traditionally thought of as repulsive and dirty, into my mouth, something that is reserved for the cleanest of things, I sought to invoke the feeling of disgust. Even though I knew that the hair I used was clean and was obtained from myself, I was gagging throughout the entire performance due to this false idea of hair that is instilled in me. The performance acts as a way to talk about the way society reacts to the presence of body hair on women and how easily something natural can be turned into something frowned upon and looked at as repulsive.
I went on to making hairy realistic wearable silicone sculptures of women’s body parts. Hair is attached to the sculptures in many different ways, exaggerating and playing around with this “disgusting” and frowned upon natural feature that comes with a woman’s body.
Due to its realistic characteristics, the sculptures allow the audience to re-imagine their body, almost like putting on someone else’s skin. The sculptures act as a way of accepting and celebrating body hair.