Mengya Zhao



I am interested in using abstract forms to create daily subjects. First, I start with mugs.

I chose the mug because it is the first subject I interact with daily. As a coffee lover, I can’t start a day without a cup.”

Most of us would choose a normal standardized shape for practical reasons; we do not want to surprise when just waking up, which is why we eat egg avocado toast and accept it as our daily routine. Yes, my work is to blend in with the way and break through it.

I want to use a most common object but add a layer of a unique twist to explore how far we will accept it and how wide of the range to define normal. “Standard Life,” in another phrase.

As a person from another continent, being here for 11 years, the fact still doesn’t guarantee I to adopt a similar value without a doubt. I still doubt and question even these less important things or objects.

For example, I noticed people first walking into a restaurant, ordering a breakfast sandwich (with the option to add ham or avocado); most of them, well, let’s say, 90%, would choose avocado.

It is a very Canadian mindset, a healthy living choice.

Nowadays, as It became a global trend, is there anyone who steps back and asks why? Why avocado?

I use my work to remind myself, trace back the root of the question, and encourage people who view it to start to ask questions, even as simple as, “was there any reason for my mindset to go for avocado instead of ham?”.

There might be a reason; if we think more profoundly, it is the marketing influence. 

Since it is a huge market, I heard farmers down south only grow avocados, which causes so many other environmental issues.

Well, even your morning coffee mug can be a conversation opener to hold you back, pause, rethink, or discover more profound things under the surface.

⁠—Mengya Zhao


Mengya Zhao is a multidisciplinary artist focusing mainly on ceramic sculptures, illustration and printmaking. She also participates in several public art projects including Suzhou Alley Women’s Mural and Still Moon Festival.

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