For my Elements And Visual Thinking II course at MICA, we were given prompts to react to social issues that had been going around us. And one of the topic that we had to talk about was the idea of race, ethnicity, and skin color. In reponse to the prompt "If Your Skin Could Talk, What Would It Say?" I made a kangaroo plush.
Why Kangaroo? What does it have to do with skin and race?
As a Person of Color who grew up in different mono-ethnic countries, I was not aware of prejudices and racisms that have been happening around me until I moved to more diverse communities such as when I went to college in Singapore and The United States.
Growing up as a kid who was really prone to illness and having had many outdoor activities that could potentially harm me, I used to think that my skin only protected me physically, and I'd always imagined it to be a strong fighter that kept all of my organs safe. As I grew up and learned more about myself and the society, I started to see it more than just a layer that protects my internal organs, but also a display, a cover that people could easily make judgements of. From its color, complexion, scars, marks, the amount of body hair on it, inks, etc.
Female kangaroos are known symbolically as not only a motherly but also a fighter figure. My skin is protecting me and is fighting constantly; It is protecting all my organs, mind, and heart, and fighting illnesses, stereotypes, and judgements.
The Bone (white), Heart (red), and Brain (blue) represent my physical being, my emotions, and my mind respectively.
I designed the pattern on my own based on a teddy bear's head I own. I mapped it out on paper and cut and glue them as my prototypes before cutting up the felt that I was using to make this piece.