Bim Bim Gallery, Paris // December 02, 2023 – January 13, 2024
Bim Bam Gallery proudly presents Yaya Chang’s first solo exhibition, titled My Breast Friends, a series of oil paintings on canvas depicting the artist’s female friends living through moments of transition: of growth and reproduction, of illness and fear, of challenge, triumph, and change.
Last year, when Yaya Chang’s closest friend from childhood was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, at the age of 35, the artist began painting pictures of her breasts as a way to offer connection and support without words. The artist depicts her friend before the knowledge of this diagnosis, pregnant with her second child, not suspecting what was to come. Yaya Chang herself was, then, at the start of her own joyful, difficult pregnancy with her second daughter. She had experienced several painful pregnancy losses, and found herself groping, like her friend with cancer, to make sense of the fallibility of having a female body.
The composition of larger than life portraits, cropped at the face, allows them to be stand-ins for any woman going through these shared experiences. Mammary glands, which are the uniting feature of our species, will have their form and function evolve over the course of life. All the paintings are based on selfies and photos sent to the artist by her friends. The series is as much about breasts as it is about her friendships. The intense concentration on her friends’ bodies has given her a way to connect to her friends beyond the usual patter of children’s birthday parties and weekend dinners. The paintings have helped her find appreciation and healing on her own.