Editorial Illustration, 2021
As a second generation, British born Chinese person, Angela Hui's article on her relationship with Tong (Cantonese soup) is very close to my heart, and I was so pleased to be able to return to Vittles and create the illustration that accompanied her words.
When I first heard about the article and its subject matter, my thoughts immediately went to the motif of lucky messengers - representing wealth, prestige, happiness and longevity - that are fairly ubiquitous on every day Chinese crockery. I especially remember them peeking up from the thick bowl of a Chinese soup spoon as I drank Tong made for me by my mum. In the illustration, I brought them to life as playful, joyous characters participating in the making and meaning of a bowl of Tong. The Chinese aspect of my identity is one I have a complex relationship with, something that Angela discusses thoughtfully in the article. I wanted to speak to that complexity without reducing the visibility of Chinese culture, without trying to apologise for it or explain it away, and I hoped to do this by taking a very traditional Chinese visual language and expand upon it, bringing it into the present in a way that was energetic and bright.
VITTLES is a food newsletter, publishing international food and culture writing. They specialise in providing a platform for writers, illustrators and chefs not otherwise given space in traditional media.
Angela Hui's article, edited by Sophie Whitehead and commissioned by Jonathan Nunn, can be read in full here: