Fat Lady

Sun Hongbin


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oil on canvas
25 x 18 cm
The subject of Fat Lady stares balefully out of her tiny canvas from behind dark glasses. These lilac sunglasses and a slash of pink lipstick are all she is wearing; her skin is soft and startlingly white, and her pink nipples echo the colour of her lips. She’s certainly no idealised beauty, and the artist says he was exploring elements of fun and playfulness to provoke reactions from the viewer. Sun likes the incongruities of ‘mo lei tau’ humour – a Cantonese term referring to a kind of slapstick in Hong Kong popular culture that relies for effect on nonsensical juxtapositions and sudden surprises. Unlike Renoir’s sweetly accommodating, voluptuous subjects, with their averted eyes or demure gazes, Sun Hongbin’s self-possessed fat lady is both unimpressed and unashamed.
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