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Jiali Wu

Jiali Wu is an illustrator and visual artist who was born and raised in China. A large part of her previous works are mostly in the form of children picture books and graphic novels. She is so passionate about trying different materials to express themes that her works encompasses techniques such as painting, narration as well as sculpture. Currently she uses her individual visual language to conducting the exploration of her selfhood and identity with delicate emotional expression.


Royal College of Art- 2019 to 2021

MA in Visual Communication

China Academy of Art- 2015 to 2019

BFA in Illustration


Gold medal, iJungle Illustration Awards, 2019

Bronze medal, the 16th China Animation & Comic Competition Golden Dragon Award, 2019

Finalist, the 11th Macau Design Biennial, 2016



Degree Details

School of Communication


Delving into the selfhood constitutes the majority of my works. As someone who often recalls the past, I am interested in the impact of memory and past experiences on individual identity. 

As Heidegger said, " For each of us, our being is always at issue. It is because our being (our identity) is in question for us that we are always taking a stand on who we are. " In what way can we prove our existence? In the background of frequent cultural exchanges and globalisation, how could we give our identity a sufficient and precise definition? As a person who often reflects on memory, I guess that our experience and memory may help to prove personal identity.

When I recounted all the events in my childhood, I found them covered with a negative and sad atmosphere, which arouses my interests to explore the implied meanings behind them and whether they have any impact on my identity. I tried to write down these scattered traumatic memories and started to catch them with visual languages. As the imageries in my mind gradually emerged, a collection of childhood trauma was born, which is like a net vaguely framed my comprehension of self identity.







This collection is my preliminary capture of private traumatic memories, sorted out by painting and writing. It contains some incidents, momentary and sensory feelings and some objects which impressed me. Each painting inside is a response to a text.


Soft pastel, charcoal


8.8 cm x 12.5 cm

Killing a chicken — I fed a chicken but one day it died./ yes, I was sure it was dead/ while I was a little sad/ somehow a strange force urged me to pick up the scissors/ hovering around the chicken's toe/ a voice in my heart said: Cut it!/ blood flowed down the handles of the scissors/ the chicken closed its eyes, stretching its neck uncomfortably/ twisting its body/ at that moment, the feeling of disgust and nausea/ choked me/ devoured me/ killer was me

Sewage overflowing on rainy days — on rainy days the sewer always secretes a foul smell/ vomiting wet, twisted emotions/ in order not to be entangled by them/ I trod on the bricks laid by others/ step by step carefully

Blurred vision — at dusk, I was sitting in a dimly lit room/ the blue-purple afterglow depicted the overlapping outline of objects/ my vision was gradually blurred/ I was drowsy

Stacked seats — a pile of stacked seats were in an abandoned classroom in the school/ they became a place for me to avoid attacks/ a powerless resistance

Light sticks in the darkness — one summer night/ I was waving light sticks in the crowd on the lawn/ next dawn when I woke up alone/ they didn't shine anymore

For further research, I use a more literary and narrative visual language to describe the corresponding incidents and feelings, which will lay the foundation for my later abstraction for the imagery and the implementation of the final work.


Soft pastel, charcoal


21 cm x 29.7 cm
29 January 2021
17:00 (GMT + 0)


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