In in an age of increasing globalisation and multiculturalism, our borders seem more fluid and the people living within them more varied than ever before. But this fusion is rarely smooth, if at all. Immigrants and their children, the ‘second generation’ so to speak, then to face struggles to maintain their heritage while living in a society whose culture can severely clash with one’s own. Our point? Acculturation isn’t an easy process for anybody. Thankfully, our digital age ensures that we no longer have to experience this isolation on our own. More and more creatives have been finding a way to give expression and voice to this sentiment by exploring their concept of self in their own works. One such creator is China-born and German-raised, artist and visual designer Yang Liu.
Having channeled her experiences with two different cultures and traditions through an infographic series titled ‘East Meets West’ or ‘Ost trifft West,’ Liu depicts her cultural duality fluently in 47 minimalistic pictograms that explore a variety of cultural and behavioural differences, and social psychologies she noticed over the years between the East (for her, China) and the West. An over-simplified division of the world perhaps, but an easily relatable one all the same. She’s picked up on a range of subjects, right from the more touched upon individualistic inclination of people from the West versus the communal and pluralistic living of Eastern societies, to the difference in the expression of emotions, and how people deal with their problems and express themselves, among various other first-hand experiences Liu’s had.
“I’m neither feeling myself as a Chinese or German. The Asian and European parts both have influenced me and my works. Actually, [my time in] New York has helped me a lot to identify myself. I’m feeling myself more as a person, who belongs to all the places I have been to,” she states in an interview with NOTCOT.
In her work ‘East Meets West’ Liu says a lot, using very little to do so. In a simple, clever and insightful manner, Liu embraces her bicultural identity and creatively communicates life on opposite sides of the globe, as they exist and as perceived by each other. Scroll down to see a few of Liu’s pictograms, and note how close her observations of the ‘East’ meet the reality of Indian society as well.
Written by Sara Hussain