Materia medica is an exploration of the relationship between the human body and nature, specifically within Chinese herbology. Before modern day medicine, curing diseases of the body were based on philosophical and abstract reasoning. Today, there is a return to this old practice of medicine, employing natural remedies to help the body maintain a state of health and balance.
Each of these images depict a particular recipe (that in practice is brewed into a tea) and functions as a treatment for a specific ailment. As an artist that is Chinese, yet born as a Canadian, the development of Materia Medica and the construction of these two-dimensional still lives has become an investigation of my own cultural heritage. A heritage with which I am as much familiar as I am unfamiliar.
Daphne uses photography as a way of answering her own questions about identity, memory, and the nature of images themselves. The answer is often found through the process of making images, and the act of self-reflection that accompanies that process. She is currently based in Hong Kong working in the historical archives field.
You can find more of Daphne’s work at daphneyuen.com