Artist: Soh Chee Hui, (b. 1967, Malaysia)
Title: Blue Balloon
Medium: Mixed Media on Wood panel
Size (cm): 147.7 x 171.0 cm
This curious visual narrative brims with cryptic implications and addresses coupling in its more complicated aspects. The juxtaposition of the traditional background and the contemporary rendering of the figures also underlines the dilemma faced by men and women in a modern society - how much of the past do we bring with us into the future?
The perfect pairing of the celestial phoenix and dragon, signifying yin (feminine) and yang (masculine), is believed to produce marital bliss and fertility. Here, the female is shrouded in white (rather than the customary red for celebration) and she is naked – suggesting vulnerability and exposure. A blue balloon conceals the man's face and his naked body is depicted in murky colours. The overall image conveys a sense of the unknown or the unknowable in the ritual of coupling.