Fine Art Photography School of Fine Art

Kaiying Qian


Kaiying Qian was born in 1999 in Zhejiang, China. She showed an interest in painting and art from an early age and has been studying Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art since 2019.

Her work mainly involves photojournalism, archival art and trans-media works, and she is interested in using different materials and mixing them together to create her work. Her practice lay on archives and texts which hold personal and societal histories. As a Chinese female artist her perspective always focuses on social issues, feminism, identity, history and cultural differences.

To the Dust
Glad You’re Doing Well 过得好就好呀
Dinner Table
Nail House
Degree Show
Artist profile

Kaiying Qian

Glad You’re Doing Well 过得好就好呀

‘Glad You’re Doing Well.’ is a cross-media piece that blends text and photos.
This work is partially an exploration of informations, knowledge, education, and people’s lives in those days in China. I browsed through my old family albums and created a
second take on them, mostly by adding textual elements that came from my primary school or middle school textbook notes.
I wanted to create an invisible sense of humour by connecting the information conveyed in the photos with the literal meaning of the sentences, so there is a certain range of
options in the collection of archives, whether they are photographs or texts. Especially the textual references, these sentences are in my handwriting, but the majority of the
words are not mine, some are from famous Chinese prose writers, some are ancient poems, and some are idioms and proverbs, etc. In a word, there is a section of the text
that conveys a very grand message and meaning behind it. These distinctive hand writings serve as both a part of the artist’s expression and a record of personal experience.
The grand meaning and message of the piece of writing are expressed by the selection of the text’s source. The wording now serves as a tool that prompts the reader to
think more deeply rather than just a simple label, this raises the family album to a higher level of cultural and historical context.


Glad You’re Doing Well | 2inch x 3inch |
Kaiying Qian | laser Print | 2022

亲人 Family

元旦 New year

大海 Ocean

天下没有完美的物 No Perfect Thing

快乐童年 Childhoods

时光匆匆一去不复返 Time Flies

自然 Nature







To the Dust

This photographic work delves into the life of my grandmother, capturing the essence of her home and lifestyle. It serves as a reflection on the burgeoning issue of aging in today’s society. The house depicted not only symbolizes my grandmother’s abode but also encapsulates my memories of growing up. Through this lens, it becomes a poignant portrayal of the passage of time and a nostalgic homage to the past.


To The Dust | Kaiying Qian | Film | 2023


For a long time, Ren suffered from mental illness, she had severe somatisation, the medications made her body progressively
bloated, her skin began to grow acne ridden and rough, and she began to hate her appearance and figure. But in a constant battle with her ego, she eventually found herself and accepted herself as she was.

Dinner Table

Inspired by a variety of films and videos, as well as my own cultural heritage, I decided to start with the dinner table to develop a project about family connections, family education, and gender equality. I’ve always been concerned about the mental health of today’s youth, particularly in East Asia. Family ties are one of the most important aspects impacting mental health, and in recent years, the gender divide in China has gotten more serious, resulting in substantial changes in the young generation’s concept of marriage. The link between the dinner table and familial relationships is indirect, but the level of harmony in a family is inevitably exposed in the small things that happen in that family, therefore I believe the dinner table would be an innovative and intimate point of entrance. I was particularly curious about the father’s status in this territory, given the traditional image of the kitchen table as the mother’s ‘domain’ and the equality of men and women, so I focused on monitoring the father’s role in the family in my interview and survey.

For the project, I recruited ten participants, including two sets of twins (one of whom was fraternal), a couple, a pair of sisters, and a pair of friends, to represent the majority of Chinese families while also addressing some patriarchal issues.
Conversations and questionnaires were conducted with the 10 collaborators, and the pictures printed on the plates were chosen by the participants based on their role in this work. To validate my research, a survey was distributed to the general population.

Nail House

During the epidemic, I saw the contradictions that existed invisibly in society, between the people and the government, between the people and the people, between the government and the government, and under the impetus of the covid-19, these collisions became more and more intense, and the need to speak out became more and more urgent.

‘Nail House’, a holdout, literally means householder who refuses to vacate his home despite pressure from property developers. They are private land or property owners and tenants whose housing leases have not yet expired or have expired who refuse to move out due to improper compensation by the government or real estate developers in the course of construction, development and redevelopment of cities and public facilities.

Developers planned to expropriate the home and property of the family which I worked with in order to build a tourist attraction. Since the demolition money is divided up according to population, this family is the last in the community to receive an additional portion since their youngest son is soon to get married. The majority of the villagers now live in new flats, as a result, they have no electricity or running water and rely mostly on pulling wire to get by. Only two elderly family members remain after the other children and grandchildren all moved out. After spending roughly two weeks with them, I learned that their family’s financial circumstances initially appeared less stable than those of the average family. The men made their living as fishermen on occasion. They have occasional disagreements with the village and open councils, but they do not experience any coercive behaviour. Although their lives are a little tougher, they have no complaints about their current situation in life and are actually looking forward to the day when the terms of their relocation are negotiated.

I worked with this family for half a month. My subject matter during the shoot included not only the individuals but also some of the household decorations, like calendars with Xi Jinping printed on them and portraits of Mao Zedong, which I unconsciously took to be government symbols and which, from this perspective, were antagonistic to the elderly couple. Despite this, they kept on believing that the Communist Party had provided and would also give them a good life.

Degree Show

I’m trying to create a little show of my own this time around in a group graduation show. This exhibition shows more than just a piece of work a project, it’s a holistic go-around as an artist that I realized in this last year, by hanging curtains at the entrance, I got a relatively closed and independent space, in which I tried to connect all the elements with ‘me’, among them photography, the I tried to connect all the elements in it with ‘me’, including photography, handwork, sculpture, etc. I preferred this exhibition to be an installation.

With ‘To the Dust’ as the main theme, this installation centers on Family, East Asian culture, Aging, and Cultural Communication. Both ‘To the Dust’ and ‘Glad You’re Doing Well’ relate to time, which is what I wanted to discuss and reflect in this small space. I used vintage and outdated decorations such as door curtains, calendars, and second-hand photo frames from charity shops and antiques, which I hope bring the overall atmosphere of the space back to the 70’s/80’s, and encompasses my sense of the passage of time and the frustration I feel.

The fabric book is an extension of my Creative Platform, the fabric is sourced from my family’s and my unused clothes and bedding, my grandparents used to have a fabric business for a living, part of this here fabric is no longer likely to be produced, linking back to my reflections on the passage of time in ‘To the Dust’.