Lunar Geisha

Michelle Watt


Brooklyn, New York, United States

As an East Asian American woman, my racial and sexual identity straddles two often contradictory cultures. Using the Geisha as a metaphor to reference a stripped-down iconography depicting the “sexualized Asian woman,” these photos reflect on the differing expectations Eastern and Western societies place on East Asian women, and the complicated emotional toll they take. Each scene depicts the Geisha at a pivotal moment in her lifetime, illustrating a reaction respective to that specific transformation. Themes of innocence, menstruation, sexuality, nakedness and poise are used to communicate the simultaneous compliance and disquiet in her playing and defying these roles. In cycling through these themes, a continual rebirth of identity occurs every time she stands up to perform.

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