‘Red Illuminates’ explores the concept of culture in socialist countries and how loyalty to the state is cultivated. The catalyst for the project was found in a residential area of Beijing where Special Criminal Syndicate Combat propaganda posters displayed, on average, every 40 meters. These are presented alongside large-format portraits of so-called young pioneers emulating Mao Zedong’s portrait in Tiananmen Square. A white orchid blooming under artificial grow lights, a still from a video work, is listening to socialist propaganda from CCTV (China’s official news channel) continuously for 30 days. With this video, Long asks the question, “could this conditioning eventually turn a white orchid red?”. These symbolic references provide a framework to examine the power dynamics of state-generated loyalty in China.
Jialin Long is a lens-based artist, photographer, who was born in Beijing, China and is based in Ireland. In 2020 she graduated with a first-class honours degree in photography from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), winning multiple awards with her project Red Illuminates, which has been exhibited and published with photography institutions throughout Ireland, Europe, the UK, and Canada.
Long is the Inspirational Arts Photography Award winner, the Gallery of Photography Ireland Graduate Awards winner, and Courthouse Gallery graduate award exhibition awardee in 2020. She was nominated as one of the FUTURES Irish Talents in 2021. Her latest work is a project commissioned by The Creative Ireland/ Dublin City Council Arts Office around the theme of diversity, which challenges stereotyped views of the Chinese community in Dublin. Long is a recipient of the Visual Arts Bursary Award and Agility Award from the Arts Council. Her photographs are in the collections with the Arts Council Ireland and with private collectors.