GHOSTS AND DEMONS, 1988–90
Mixed-media and water-based pigment on paper
Ghosts and Demons is based on Japanese iconography and mythology, drawing on the tradition and style of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Popularized in Kabuki theater, these folkloric characters exist between the worlds of the living and the dead. While the ghosts haunt the living, the demons are tricksters. Shoki, originally taken from the figure of Zhong Kui in Chinese mythology, is considered to be the king of the ghosts and is tasked with maintaining discipline in the spirit world, earning him the moniker "demon queller." He is represented in his traditional scholar's garb with a cap with ribbons. As the embodiment of physical strength and endurance, Shoki symbolized the artist’s own determination for life as he faced each new manifestation of HIV in his body.