Dorairolg plays a puzzle with the viewer in her mind-bogglingly detailed digital artworks

Stop now and take another look at the beautiful constructions by the Taiping-based artist. You’ll find detail upon detail of hidden delights, revealing insights into the thoughtful artist’s questioning identity and culture.

13 December 2021

It is rare to come across work like Dorairolg’s. When first browsing through her Instagram, the viewer is faced with spine-tingling images. Cross-sections of brains are presented with scientific precision, meaty pink flesh reveals several layers of neurones but hidden deep inside the image, beneath the skin and the fleshy folds, are minuscule sets featuring delicate bridges framed by dangling willow trees. It’s as if she’s reminding viewers that underneath the crackling of thoughts firing off from all corners of our minds, there is peace and tranquillity to be found. All we have to do is tap into it.

These anatomical renderings consist of seven layers mimicking cortical structures. Each layer represents a different aspect of Hakka identity, a subject Dorairolg continuously explores throughout her conceptual practice. Seven emotions are expressed – happiness, anger, sadness, fear, love, disgust, lust – as well as the seven Dukhas in Buddhism – birth, ageing, sickness, death, association with the unbelted, separation from the loved, and not gaining what is wanted. The course of time and reincarnation are also represented. “We experience these scenarios every day,” she explains on the range of feeling packed into the tactile layers.

Born in Macau, Dorairolg chose to leave the casino city because she felt like an outlier. She moved to the neighbouring Taiwan where she has lived for the past six years and counting. Recently graduating from Shih Chien University’s Communication Design course, the digital artist collaborates with brands, musicians and other artists to create wholly unique pieces of work that never fail to intrigue, entice, but maybe make you feel a bit icky too.


Copyright © Dorairolg, 2021

She stumbled on the medium of digital art almost by accident during high school, when her interest shifted from substantial creation to virtual networks. One day, she accidentally came across a tutorial video which instructed her how to produce virtual reality with 3D characters. And just like that she dived into the study of 3D techniques. She developed a particular interest in the creation of characters’ faces, learning the ins and outs of how to construct the realistic texture and pigmentation of human skin. Nowadays, her skills have become so refined that it’s hard to tell whether her renders are photographs or otherwise.

Dorairolg talks us through her most recent project, Ngai. Meaning ‘I’ or ’storyteller’ in Hakka, the ongoing collection of artworks explores themes of self-exploration and growth. Continuously evolving and updating, the work aims to discuss the relationships between individuals and society, the environment and finally, this era we are living in. “I want to use my identity as a Hakka to start this story,” she says. For the artist, the project explores a particularly aspect of the culture. Having grown up deeply rooted in Hakka culture, her family never spoke the language and Dorairolg doesn’t know it to this day. In turn, the project interrogates this in between space.

Each artwork is highly personal to Dorairolg’s experience. Whether it’s an internal examination of feeling or feeling inspired by a hike in the mountains, each beautifully rendered image reveals a different aspect of the artist. In Ngai, she hides many details in the complex compositions. She purposefully builds up these layers of meaning so the viewer needs to take time to observe all the details. It’s a contrast to the way we rapidly consume information today and in this way, Dorairolg plays a kind of puzzle with the viewer, prodding them to question their habits.

GalleryCopyright © Dorairolg, 2021

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Copyright © Dorairolg, 2021

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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