Lawrence Liang & Christian Tilia


About the Work

Empathy refers to the process of individuals sharing and understanding emotions of others, it is the cornerstone of human interaction and is often conveyed subconsciously through our expressions. Out of all the regions of the face, the muscles around the eyes and the eyes themselves are the most effective at communicating our emotions; thus, why they are often referred to as the windows to the soul.

Masks wearing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have interfered greatly with our ability to read each other’s expressions and visually communicate. When we originally embarked on our journey to create Mu (eyes in Chinese), we wanted to create an artwork that portrayed an ethos allowing the viewer to be in the shoes of the victim, showing only gazes of contempt and prejudice experienced by Asian Australians throughout the pandemic– racism felt but unspoken.

However, as we approached strangers, spoke about the project and their experiences, and took their photographs, we realised that racism often had complex roots. Whether it be fear, anger, suspicion, or ignorance and that many were sympathetic, compassionate and had too been victims.

Racism like many other things in life is not so simple; nothing is merely black or white.

All photos were taken in one day in a park in Newtown, Sydney. All featured individuals are volunteers.

About the Creatives

Lawrence Liang is a second-generation Australian born Chinese Artist, growing up in Shanghai in his early childhood. Liang has exhibited works across Vivid Sydney, Sculpture by the Sea, Bankstown Symbiosis, Parramatta Lanes, and a variety of commercial activations. Liang’s work aims to address social issues, encapsulate deep human emotions and revolves around the idea of human condition drawing inspiration from his own experience as well as that of the people around him.

Sydney-based Christian Tilia is an amateur photographer whose work aims to explore human experiences in everyday life, isolating and capturing moments which might otherwise go unnoticed.