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When the pandemic hit, I suddenly found myself with all this free time. I looked around me and saw that in major media and public opinion there was an apparent ignorance about the positive aspects of Chinese women in their representation. The real Chinese world seemed to be hidden, whilst around me, I saw so many admirable Chinese women I look up to. They are admirable because they are strong; balancing a good career for themselves and taking care of their children and family. They created a good life for themselves.

I thought about my close girlfriends, and I thought: “I need to do something for them”. As an artist, I took to painting portraits of them. Their strength gives me energy, and I want to put them in the spotlight. Of course, Belgian women also deserve the spotlight. But these women I painted come from far and all have had many hurdles to overcome. This way, I felt that I could help getting them represented in society. In China, where I grew up, the women are also commendable in their daily lives. There is a saying: "Women hold up half the sky".

During my art studies, I was very much supported by my parents. It was a good career choice, because, at that time, you got a job that fitted you right after university. When I eventually came to Belgium, I noticed that there certainly was pressure to get a good degree (and that art careers are hard to come by). I have a daughter who is creative as well. The most important thing for any parent is that their children can take care of themselves and be happy in their lives, including the career they choose.

So I tried to combine my creativity with a needed job, and that is hairdressing. First of all, I like to make something pretty. Secondly, this degree didn’t require specific language skills. I do this today, as a side job, but it's almost like a hobby that makes me happy. The big reward is when my customers leave feeling better.

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