STILL (A)LIFE : A PHILOSOPHY OF FRUITS
Fruits are often associated with social constructs of sex, while gender is widely acknowledged as a symbolic creation of society. The physical traits of fruits — their shape, taste and fragrance — have long been culturally linked to concepts of masculinity and femininity.
In this project, feminine traits are represented through a gender-based symbolism of fruits. Seeds, roundness, sweetness and ripeness portray aspects of the human body, underscoring our shared humanity, and fruits are conceptualized in many of our rituals, myths, moral codes and beliefs. By integrating my cultural background as an Asian with my current Western surroundings, I seek to investigate and interpret this philosophy of fruits through a feminist lens.
The physical characteristics of fruit help illustrate the relationship between meanings — both universal and local. Nicknames are often attached to fruits, gendering them as “king” or “queen,” “father” or “mother,” and so forth. The mango is known as the king of fruits in many places. In Southeast Asia, the durian holds that title, paired with mangosteens, which are labeled the queen of fruits. Fruit is also commonly depicted as a universal symbol of women’s bodies and beauty.
Across the globe, fruits are an important part of our expressions, myths and belief systems. In Southeast Asia, they are symbolic objects in our rituals and religious and spiritual ceremonies. We frequently utilize such symbols in prayers or wishes, asking for protection from gods and other spiritual beings. Finally, fruit is a representation of human desire, including for love, wealth, joy and good fortune.