Jenny Lin  

"Pencil Teeth"


"Pencil Teeth"

“Pencil teeth”, 2020, digital inkjet print of graphite drawing and text collage.

I have been making drawings throughout this pandemic, with focus on the vulnerabilities and injustices that are exacerbated by it, or that have been brought into greater visibility during it. This image is an accumulation of some of these drawings, and a response to feelings of weariness and vigilance throughout this time, worrying for loved ones, the communities I am part of and for individuals and communities I care deeply for as an ally. It is also a response to being for months on end in a state of overdrive and high-alert – over-functioning for my job to keep things “going”, being on edge due to higher incidents of racially-motivated violence, protecting against the virus, and observing the pandemic’s multi-faceted and detrimental affects on the most vulnerable in our communities. Drawing is a means to process the current situations I see around me, to keep afloat, and also to create conversation and connection with others, but in this drawing, I point also at the futility I feel about it. The hand gestures were initially intended as a response to a couple of images artist Shanna Strauss shared with me during our Prix Powerhouse Residency (2020), in which she depicts her own hands making, mending, holding space and letting go. In this case, my hands are busy picking and poking at as a kind of overactivity and (self)criticism but also care. The title, Pencil Teeth, alludes to the protectiveness I feel towards my communities and allies, and the hypervigilant readiness I feel to bare teeth, even if only through paper and screens.

This image was developed during the Prix Powerhouse 2020 Residency of La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse and exhibited in November - December, 2020 in the La Centrale window space together with a work by Shanna Strauss as a window exhibition titled "We are wary, we are weary".