You Meng-Shu is a Taiwanese-born artist who has been based in Sydney since 2006. Trained in Taiwan as a ceramicist, she uses traditional skills and materials to comment on the impact of America on her native culture – or ‘Coca-Colonization’ as she references it in her art. This work bears the hallmark of her Chinese background, but is also about globalisation and the challenges it poses to culture in general.
You is something of a product of globalisation herself, having lived in Taiwan, the United States and Australia. She speaks English with a slight mid-Western accent, is savvy with a number of different languages and cultures, and is able to adopt different cultural identities as required (Taiwanese, Chinese, American, Australian).
I spoke to You in her final few months in Australia, seemingly at the end of her years-long critical examination of Coca-Colonisation, and in the process of moving on to other shores (both creative and geographic). This felt like a moment at a cross-roads, and an opportunity to look back on her major work of the last few years.