The recent victory of Austria’s Conchita Wurst at Eurovision reminded me of a gender confused article in Honi Soit (week 6) that needs to be clarified.
The feature article on the Sydney Biennale opened with a discussion of artist Yingmei Duan. The article stated that ‘he is a prominent Chinese artist exhibiting as part of the Sydney Biennale for 2014’. All of this is true besides the small detail that Yingmei is in fact is a female.
My need for clarification may seem a little antsy in this age of androgyny, multiplicity, and drag queens winning Eurovision. But my issue is really to do with the lack of erudite scholarship revealed by this simple mistake.
Subeta Vimalarajah’s article was an insightful discussion of sponsorship in the art world but while reading it all I could think about as the mistake make several times in the opening paragraph.
It is clear that Subeta had not seen Yingmei’s performance at the Art Gallery of NSW. If she had she would have entered a forest like world in a darkened room where Yingmei would have whispered secrets to her about her life. The experience is so unsettling there is little chance you would forget it, or the gender of the performer.
Am I being too harsh? I will be the first to admit that I have written confidently in essays to mask the fact that I have not actually read all of the required text. But really how hard it is to do a google search to discover that Yingmei Duan as a ‘she’ and not a ‘he’?