adamcentury, Monday, January 10th, 2011
Su Zizi attends class and occasionally skips lectures just like any ordinary student at Beijing’s prestigious Renmin (People’s) University. When exam time rolls around, the 19-year-old sophomore art major can be found cramming in the library with her classmates, pulling all-nighters for that extra grade point. Outside of class, however, Su is anything but an ordinary sophomore college student: in her free time, the Hubei native poses nude for some of Beijing’s most famous lensmen. The controversial nature of Su’s dual identities, as well as the curiosity that many netizens have regarding Su’s unclothed images, have earned Su Zizi the unique position of being the concurrent most searched “Individual” and most searched “Hot Topic” on Baidu’s search rankings.
Su was raised mainly by her grandparents in a relatively poor, single-parent home in the city of Yichang. During her freshman year at Renmin University, Su’s grandmother fell seriously ill and Su was faced with the responsibility of covering part of her grandmother’s medical bills. Unfamiliar with her new living environment and unsure of how to earn the necessary money, Su posted her profile on an online job search site. Several days later, Su was undressing and posing for professional photographers, earning at least 500 RMB (about $75) per session.
While Su initially decided to become a model for strictly financial reasons, she has since developed a passion for the career, saying that it has increased her self-confidence and provided her with a unique window for understanding Chinese society. After several months of work, Su decided to quit her part-time job in order to prepare for her own solo nude art exhibition which was held at Renmin University in November. The exhibition was a great success, earning Su widespread acclaim among Chinese art critiques and photographers.wangzhuanzhilu.com.
Not everyone is on board with Su’s form of physical art, with many netizens and important social figures condemning her work as highly unsuitable for students. “Su’s so-called art is really just an effort to get herself attention,” one netizen argued. “It’s one tiny step away from pornography.”
Su, however, remains undeterred. “Right now, China needs some people to have different thoughts and ideas, to actively seek for change,” Su told reporters in an interview last month. “Without different ideas, Chinese society will not be able to truly advance.”
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