anaïs Anqi skok
My work explores the personal aftermath of betrayal, particularly that of identity and honesty. After a drastic change in my family life, I was transferred to an international school where I found myself having no cultural commonalities with my peers. I began holding contempt against China, my home country and found shelter within my foreign nationality.
When I took those preconceptions and half-truths with me to high school, I found my character unbalanced, angry, and insecure. To regain control over my emotions, I started analyzing myself in my work. My vanity and humility were characterized by physical beings called Ugly Angels. The paradoxical nature of their name resembles the actuality of their presence in my life. At times it seems like they guided me to a safe haven; one where my tongue speaks the language of international schools perfectly. Where my references are understood, and my performance fits seamlessly with my passport. In reality, self-doubt and a patchwork of lies were the only things awaiting me.
Visually, Ugly Angels possess long, tangled arms as a representation of their existence as controls and burdens. Their figures are decorated obnoxiously to communicate their conceit and elongated to show sloth and ugliness. When I construct my work, I visualize characters that resemble different aspect of myself to capture the violence within their interactions.
Eventually, through this process of reflecting upon my experience and releasing pent up guilt, I hope to clear my vision of vanity and strengthen the foundation which my family built. Perhaps, if it is not too much to ask, I hope my audience can reconsider their own Ugly Angels and stray away from temporary fixes.
ANAïS ANQI SKOK is a four-year senior visual artist at Interlochen Arts Academy. She is from Beijing, China and her work draws inspiration from her past with Chinese identity. Her work communicates the dangers of vanity as well as the aftermaths of betrayal—particularly that of identity and honesty. Anaïs received a national gold medal from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her installation in 2019. Next year she will be attending New York University for Studio Arts.