Speculating on the intersection of biology and identity, Jes Fan’s (b. 1990 in Scarborough, Canada) trans-disciplinary practice emerges from his interest in the concept of otherness as it relates to the materiality of the gendered body, particularly in queering conventional notions of gender, kinship, and maternity.


His work, Mother Is A Woman (Cream) (2019), asks the viewer to envision the formation of non-familial kinship through his mother’s hormones. For Jes, the idea of kinship in Cantonese culture acts as a hierarchical boundary, be they literal or symbolic, that defines what is inferior, excluded, or unable to be empathised with. Thus, in early 2018, the artist obtained urine samples from his mother in Hong Kong, and transported them to the United States for processing in a university laboratory. Utilising solid phase extraction, Fan isolated and extracted his mother’s oestrogen. By manoeuvring scientific and biotechnological domains that are seemingly rational and rigid, the work throws the constructed idea of familial structure and relations into question, juxtaposing artificial and natural and revealing the fluidity of human intimacy. The viewer is forced to rethink if their epidermis absorbs the oestrogen of the artist’s mother, how it will disrupt one’s natural and socially constructed kindred, and their relation to the artist.