mixed media drawing by Julie McNiel
Mississippi Mooncakes
pencil,vellum, collage on paper
26 x 40"

This drawing is actually a part of my Lucky Love project, a series of drawings, paintings, puppetry and animation, created over a ten-year period. This series explores orphaning, girlhood, and abandonment through the structure of a well-known,Taoist-influenced and ancient Chinese mythic tale, Lady in the Moon. My daughter, adopted from Szechuan Province, China, was my inspiration, and has become the main character in my narrative. I also reference other literary works such as Oliver Twist, and Huckleberry Finn, except that my orphaned adventurer is female. Here, she faces another girl that is her mirror, then turns and boards a raft of logs, on her escape from the Underground Palace. The background imagery is based on a Song Dynasty wall painting of a palatial complex in a monastery. The rabbit and round mooncake-shapes, reference the Moon Lady myth. Joss paper, used in funerary rites, adorns the top corner of the drawing. This golden paper, when burned by family members, travels as smoke to the Underworld, and helps dead relatives to buy their way out of hell and into heaven.