UBC Undergraduate Research

Hidden Behind Colours : Art Piece & Reflection on the Impact of Cultural Identity on Mental Health Goh, Nichole


Humans, being a social species, all live while subject to societal expectations; but the extent to which people are constrained in society by expectations are often indicative of their marginalization. This combination of repressive expectations, constraints, and marginalization can have strong negative impact on one’s mental health. Through her art piece, Goh uses different panels to speak to the multifaceted nature of the pressures that society places onto nonya/nyonya, an identity that places Goh (and others like her) at the intersection of Malaysian and Peranakan identities. Between societal pressures, family pressures, and internalized pressures, Goh’s piece speaks to the pervasive and all-encompassing nature of repressive societal expectations, and the damage that can do. This leads to a bigger question – how do we break this cycle?

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