Jolene Lai: A ContemporaryTake on Women in Chinese Folk Tales


Los Angeles-based emerging artist Jolene Lai is getting attention for Allegory, her meticulous oil series of female characters from Chinese mythology and literature. Born in Singapore, and inspired by her traditional Asian upbringing, she puts a contemporary face on folk tales to help explain Chinese characteristics today. Click on images for the story behind each painting. (Above: The Butcher / Original Story Title:  Daughter of the Cruel King)


Dance of the Magpies (Love story between a weaver and a cowherd)


Honey Roasted (The man with one leg)


Dear Diary (Her deadly secret)


The Concoction (The figure that stands below the bridge)


Daphne’s Toys (The Becoming of Lust)


A Moonlit Meadow (An elixir, a lady on the moon, a jade rabbit, and an archer)

Jolene Lai is an artist and illustrator based in Los Angeles. She graduated from Lasalle-Sia College of the Arts Singapore and UCLA Extension’s Design Communication Arts program.

See her website, here.

Her blog, here.

On Behance, here.

On Facebook, here.

8 replies »

  1. I agree with Agata above. Such dramatic and often despairing themes, yet the images feel so clean and fresh (despite so many disembodied limbs hanging about in strange places? LOL!). The imaginative style is really quite fun.


  2. These paintings evoke so many emotions of hurt, despair, and internal struggle. As an artist, I find it can be very challenging to do that and still use a relatively bright palette in the overall piece. Thanks for sharing this artists amazing work.


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