In his exhibition Once Daughters, artist MATE seeks to examine long-standing cultures of inequality and highlight the pernicious social consequences of this gender imbalance. Using a large quantity of blowup plastic sex-dolls, he examines the concept of ‘value’ and how we measure this in regards to human existence. Having witnessed their mass production ﬁrst hand, MATE was struck by the high demand for such dolls.
He understands this to be a direct consequence of the one-child policy that rendered women less valuable than men for many years. MATE’s work comments on the gender imbalance that resulted from this policy, which is expected to see 17 out of 100 men remain unmarried, thus increasing the need for these manufactured replacements.
He acknowledges that the value of women in China is increasingly recognised, with opportunities for women to ﬂourish becoming commonplace. Instead, it is the consequences of the one-child policy for modern men in the region – many of whom face a future alone – that his work chooses to focus on. Through his project, MATE seeks to put history into a timeless emotional context, forcing us to examine the actions of the past in order to ﬂourish in the future.