Both Harlow’s Monkey and Racialicious have recently posted about Daddy and I, a photo exhibit by O. Zhang. In it, adopted Chinese girls pose with their white adoptive fathers. The series has generated much publicity, mostly centered around the uncomfortable feeling many have gotten looking at the photos. Some of the photos depict the young girls, often in traditional Chinese dress, in vaguely inappropriate positions with their fathers.
Why do these pictures make us so uneasy? If it were white adopted children with their white daughters, would we feel so uncomfortable? Or are these fathers in inappropriate positions with their daughters, regardless of race?
Furthermore, what is the artist’s role in all of this? In his director’s statement, Zhang poses the question "as the girls grow up, will they remain innocent adoptees under the tutelage of their Western patriarchs?" Did he position the fathers and daughters in deliberate situations to symbolize this question?
If art is meant to generate discussion, then this exhibit surely has accomplished its goal.