Yesiyu Zhao


Manicure. 2021.

In a time where our collective sense of space had been severely limited, Yesiyu’s work presents us with an entire world filled with wonderment and exploration. Yesiyu’s juxtaposing motifs such as hairy legs in stockings and soldiers in high heels explore both gender fluidity and finding serenity in the space “in-between.” Through his painted narratives, these figures are seen sleeping, getting their nails done, swinging, conversing, and altogether relaxing where they are cast as Othered. 

In Facial, the figures find themselves listening to “Minor Feelings” on audiobook while applying face masks and acupuncture. It is at this moment that Yesiyu puts his characters on full display - the large arms, hands, and hairy legs being the main actors displaying a moment of tenderness with each other. Nothing is taken away or hidden in his painterly approach, rather color and ink are applied as a means to show more of what we’ve yet to see.

At its heart, the world that Yesiyu creates shows us what it means to be home - home as a physical space, as a community with others, and in our own bodies. And in these homes, he shows us how to hold space to be one’s full self, to love, to desire, to be understood.


Bridal Chair (Marry the Night). 2021.

Y — A — 2020