Your winning work, The Pink Project II – Lauren and Carolyn and Their Pink & Purple Things, explores gender identity, consumerism and the commodification of girlhood. Can you tell us what first drew you to these themes?
The Pink and Blue Projects were initiated by my daughter, who loves the colour pink so much that she wanted to wear only pink clothes and play with only pink toys and objects. I discovered that my daughter’s case was not unusual. In the United States, South Korea, and elsewhere, most young girls love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon is widespread among children of various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Perhaps it is the influence of pervasive commercial advertisements aimed at little girls and their parents, such as the universally popular Barbie and Hello Kitty merchandise that has developed into a modern trend. Girls are trained subconsciously and unconsciously to wear the colour pink in order to look feminine.
As girls grow older, their taste for pink changes. Until about second grade, they are very obsessed with the colour pink, but around third or fourth grade, they do not obsess with pink as much anymore. Usually, their tastes change to purple. Later on, there are further shifts in taste. However, the original association with the colour-code often remains.
To make these images, I arrange and display the cotton-candy coloured belongings of several children in their rooms. When I first started taking these pictures, the objects were arranged without an order, but I soon realized that the photographs in which small possessions are well organized and displayed in the front of scene make the images appear to be more crowded. This method shows my organization of subjects similar to the way in which museums categorize their inventories and display their collections.